VR Lab at The FACILITY Makerspace at Edmonds Community College

Edmonds Community College is known for its work in training technicians in additive manufacturing and materials science. Now they are adding a project to an existing on-campus makerspace that will expand its value to students and the community: A Virtual Reality (VR) Lab.

Many colleges and universities around the nation and the world have makerspaces, but most are available only to students. Edmonds Community College takes a wider view and started THE FACILITY as a community-based makerspace in addition to student access.

According to the website: “The FACILITY is housed in Monroe Hall, (an 11,000 square foot building with state-of-the-art equipment) to the local community and provides a collaborative space where ordinary people with extraordinary ideas can come together and gain access to the tools, training, and community you need to turn your thoughts into things.

“The FACILITY is based on a DIY philosophy and the launch of our Rapid Proto Lab gives you hands on access to the most essential, exciting, and versatile Makerspace equipment: a Laser Cutter, 3D Printers, a CNC Router, and 3D Scanners. This is a game changing opportunity for Makers of all kinds: artists, inventors, entrepreneurs, students, educators, hobbyists, side-giggers, and world changers.”

Now, thanks to collaboration in another National Science Foundation grant (the college is already known for its national Materials Science education website known as MatEdU), and in partnership with Purdue University, “the college is working on developing an innovative multi-modal VR framework for Digital Manufacturing instruction. One of the priorities is to establish a VR Immersion Lab that can provide design and development opportunities to the local community, and collaboration with other makerspaces, as part of The FACILITY,” David Voetmann, director of The FACILITY, said.

Stay tuned for more immersive experiences and news.

Mark Your Calendar: Additive Aerospace Conference Scheduled

In its fifth year, the Additive Aerospace conference is scheduled for October 18 through 20, 2017 in downtown Los Angeles. With a major lineup of speakers from industry and government: NASA, FAA, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, GE, US Navy, US Air Force, and others will share their expertise about how additive manufacturing is advancing within the aerospace and aviation industries.

As an organization that supports materials science and additive manufacturing (and standards around both), the TEAMM Network is pleased to report that two of its members will be presenting on one of the event panels. Carl Dekker, owner of Met-L-Flo and the ASTM F42 Committee chairman and Pat A. Picariello, Director, Developmental Operations of ASTM International.

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The Power Of A 3D Printer In Business

With our jobs post, 3D Printing and Materials Skills In Demand, we had a number of conversations about entrepreneurial opportunities in the world of Additive Manufacturing. Since many new graduates from various materials science or additive manufacturing technician programs often contemplate starting their own 3D printing businesses, this post will take a look at some of the non-traditional paths that AM offers to the startup-mindset.

We mentioned 3D Hubs in the April 2017 AM News and it provides a good base of ideas for ways people are operating small print shops. 3D Hubs is an online network of 3D printer owners who operate as mini service bureaus to print parts for customers. It does an annual 3D printer guide (link at end of post) that is one of the best anywhere due to the fact that they have so many owners gathered in one place who are willing to provide input and feedback about their particular models. These are the super-users, the experts who are printing hundreds of objects over many hours, so they have invested a lot more time than the standard hobbyist.

Here is an ongoing, working list of business types that are actively building out 3D printing services to an existing business or a creating a new venture:

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AM News Profile: Tooling U SME Additive Manufacturing Training Courses

TEAMM, and a sister project, MatEdU, aka MaterialsEducation.org are both part of a larger project funded by the Advanced Technological Education Program of the National Science Foundation. Both are committed to increasing understanding and usage of materials in various educational areas. MatEdU, for example, has a large database of curriculum to serve educators for almost all ages. Each project has strong partners seeking to foster growth and opportunity to help students (and their teachers) to expand their knowledge and skills within materials science and additive manufacturing.

Note: If you head to the MaterialsEducation page for Educators, you will find core competencies outlined and can search for curriculum modules for free use in the classroom. TEAMM also has a Modules page that is smaller than MatEdU, but growing!

Image Courtesy Tooling U – SME

Tooling U, the training and development division of SME (Society of Manufacturing Engineers), is an active TEAMM Network member and this month we are profiling a tiny slice of their work here on the AM News page. You can see the full list of courses that focus on Additive Manufacturing, but there is an extensive library of over 500 classes. They offer a free trial to allow you to sample at least part of one class.

You can also download the Tooling U Course Catalog in PDF here.

A couple of examples from the Beginner tracks:

–Intro to Additive Manufacturing 110 (Beginner)               

This class introduces users to additive manufacturing (AM) processes by outlining the history of AM, describing AM technology, and exploring current and future additive manufacturing applications.

–Additive Manufacturing Safety 120 (Beginner) 

Additive Manufacturing Safety describes how users can protect themselves against common mechanical, electrical, thermal, and airborne hazards associated with AM processes. This class also provides an overview of personal protective equipment (PPE), lockout/tagout procedures, Hazard Communication Standards (HCS), and Safety Data Sheets (SDS). 

Then you get to the Intermediate level for more intense training, here’s just one example:

–Additive Manufacturing Materials Science 211  (Intermediate)

Additive Manufacturing Materials Science provides a comprehensive overview of the materials that can be used with additive manufacturing (AM) processes. AM materials include a variety of polymers, metals, composites, and ceramics. Each material is distinguished from another material by microstructure, mechanical and physical properties, and life cycle. Different AM processes require the use of different AM materials. Therefore, an individual must understand materials’ science to ensure proper material selection. Understanding the materials that are compatible with additive manufacturing processes is an essential part of AM process success. After completing this class, users will not only be able to distinguish between thermoplastic and thermoset polymers, ferrous metals and nonferrous alloys, and ceramic and composite materials, but users will also be able to determine which material type is most appropriate for use with a specific AM process.

TEAMM is proud to have Tooling U as one of its dedicated partners. They continue to lead out in traditional manufacturing and new technologies, such as, Additive Manufacturing. It’s parent, SME, organizes the well-known and well-respected RAPID + TCT Event each year, and we have a brief summary of our visit to that show last month: 3D Printing Continues $6 Billion Strong Growth.

3D Printing Continues Strong $6 Billion Growth Via Wohlers Report

Advances in 3D technology from 3D printing to materials science are driving amazing growth for the manufacturing industry and many others. According to Wohlers Report 2017, 97 manufacturers produced and sold additive manufacturing systems in 2016, up from 62 in 2015. The industry achieved worldwide revenues of $6.063 billion in 2016.

Earlier this month, the TEAMM Network met the day before RAPID + TCT 2017 started. As people arrived in Pittsburgh to meet at one of the largest 3D printing events in the world, we gathered to talk about how technician education continues to change as well as how community colleges across the nation are preparing students for careers in the fast-growing additive manufacturing world. Naturally, the conversations continued as various experts from the TEAMM Network later spent time wandering the show floor.

While there were many innovations and inventions announced at this year’s show, here are a few of the big items:

— Stratasys made several big announcements, including its strategic partnership with Desktop Metal, as well as a continuous build platform that offers a modular bank of printers that can operate with very little help from an operator. You can check it out here.

–HP made numerous announcements around its Jet Fusion 3D Printer which is impressive, to say the least. Seriously impressive.

MarkForged talks about its updates to its carbon fiber 3D printer and had its Metal X, a new metal 3D printer, in demo mode at the show.

Many desktop 3D printing leaders were there:

–Ultimaker showcasing its new and elegant Ultimaker 3 printer.

–The well-known and highly-rated MakerGear team was demonstrating its newest MakerGear M3.

Lulzbot had an active booth due to its ever-popular and easy-to-use TAZ printers, including its newest TAZ 6 and the Lulzbot Mini cranking away on fun projects.

Desktop Metal wowed the crowd with its innovative, and many say revolutionary, new metal 3D printer. It has a Studio System and a Production System.

–SmarTech Publishing had a booth where you could peruse one of their many reports, including a metals report showing almost $1B in revenues.

Impossible Objects (materials science experts)

CMU NextManufacturing Center had a presence to share the many cool things they are doing.

–Resin-based 3D printers were represented by Carbon and FormLabs.

As you can see from this short list alone, there are a ton of great companies showcasing exactly how 3D printing and related 3D tech is keeping the manufacturing industry on its toes. TEAMM Network members were excited to be in the midst of this event packed with almost 350 exhibitors — and the big opportunity they represent for additive manufacturing technicians coming out of college programs.

–An earlier version of this post appeared on Forbes.