SME Has Three Questions They Want To Help You Answer About Additive Manufacturing

SME believes that additive manufacturing (3D printing) faces barriers to more widespread adoption and use. There is a gap between existing knowledge and the technology’s capabilities and potential. At the heart of their new initiative are three questions to help bridge that gap:

  • Can I print it?
  • Should I print it?
  • What’s the best machine, material and process for a particular part?

The initiative is called the Independent Technical Evaluation of Additive Manufacturing (ITEAM). The consortium is comprised of manufacturing companies, additive manufacturing equipment and material producers, industry organizations, academic institutions, service bureaus, CAD, CAE, and other software solutions providers. Here is an ITEAM overview video on YouTube.

The purpose of ITEAM is to advance additive manufacturing by providing a trusted information platform as a resource for manufacturers using this technology. Users need a better way to evaluate the feasibility of producing additively manufactured parts amidst the constantly changing field of machines, materials and processes. SME and their partners through ITEAM are building a new prototype AM Rapid Virtual Evaluation Platform.

This platform is being developed and tested by the ITEAM consortium in collaboration with Dr. Michael Grieves, renowned expert at the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT), along with GM and other major industry users in automotive and aerospace. The open platform will provide a virtual repository of AM machine/material capabilities with evaluation tools to enable users to determine their parts’ suitability to be manufactured additively.

Check out the Michael Grieves Interview from RAPID+TCT 2018.

According to the SME news release, “The ITEAM tool compares and calculates the best machine, material and process for a particular application. Utilizing SAM-CT (size, accuracy and materials + economic evaluation of cost and throughput) methodology, companies can upload their part file to the secure platform and evaluate whether something “can” and “should” be produced by additive manufacturing. This helps manufacturers reduce risking valuable time and resources on trial and error in the manufacturing process.”

Dr. Grieves explained the SAM-CT model in a recent post at 3DPrint.com entitled, How Do We Make Better Decisions in 3D Technologies? ITEAM has the Answer. In it, he shares this visual that explains how the process works. In short, “SAM is the technical evaluation of the ‘Can I make it,’” Grieves said. The SAM-CT model and Dr. Grieves’ work certainly answers the three questions SME wants to help you with, plus quite a bit more.

Tennessee Tech Adds Chapter To Cyber-Physical Labs Textbook

Tennessee Tech University wants to make 3D printing accessible to more people. Dr. Ismail Fidan and a team of additive manufacturing (AM) experts contributed to a new Springer textbook: Cyber-Physical Laboratories in Engineering and Science Education, to show how they intend to make remote access to an AM lab possible.

Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, continues to grow in popularity and as an approach to teach science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). But the cost of the machines prohibits many educational institutions from purchasing, so Dr. Fidan and his colleagues pondered how they could grant remote access to more teachers and students. In this textbook chapter, the authors introduce a novel concept of accessing external AM laboratories via smartphones and advanced computer technologies.

The chapter, The Development and Implementation of Instruction and Remote Access Components of Additive Manufacturing, showcases the TTU Engineering department’s project to create a smartphone application that links AM labs to each other. It lists the pros and cons of contemporary practices to make a lab available online. The chapter also highlights the components and processes they used to build the lab and run it remotely. To broaden resources in AM teaching and workforce development, four institutions were part of the remote AM collaboration network project.

AM Remote Access Network: Technical Details

According to Dr. Fidan: “The AM Remote Access Network, AM laboratories are linked with exceptionally precise network cameras. All network cameras are equipped with two-way communication, infrared night vision, an SD card slot, digital zoom (x10), pan and tilt abilities, and motion alerts. They also have two-way audio connection, which is a useful feature that lets anyone chat with the laboratory personnel through the remote access. These cameras also let users monitor the part production from start to end and inform the laboratory personnel when there is an issue. Currently, the system does not provide any control on the design software tools, but lets the users access the laboratory, watch the production real time, and see the finished product without any delay.”

TTU Remote AM Lab at Univ of Louisville

The TTU College of Engineering is proving that owning a 3D printer is not the only way to help your students create a 3D printed object. As part of their project, Dr. Ismail Fidan and team developed a remote-access smartphone application that made it easy to connect to the AM network and lab. In the future, more remote access networks and labs will be built giving teachers and students’ ways to test this method for their classrooms.

The chapter authors:

  • Ismail Fidan, College of Engineering, Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, Tennessee, US.
  • Amy Elliott, Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Knoxville, Tennessee, US.
  • Mel Cossette, National Resource Center for Materials Technology Education, Edmonds Community College, Lynnwood, Washington, US.
  • Thomas Singer, The Science, Mathematics and Engineering Division, Sinclair Community College, Dayton, Ohio, US.
  • Ed Tackett, J B Speed School of Engineering, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, US.

The Springer textbook, Cyber-Physical Laboratories in Engineering and Science Education, editors:

  • Michael E. Auer, Carinthia University of Applied Sciences, Villach, Austria
  • Arthur Edwards, University of Colima, Colima, Mexico
  • Abul K.M. Azad, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL, USA
  • Ton de Jong, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands

Acknowledgements: This work is part of a larger project funded by the Advanced Technological Education Program of the National Science Foundation, DUE #1601587.

RAND Publication Explores Additive Manufacturing in 2040

TEAMM Principal Investigator, Mel Cossette, was recently interviewed for a special report by RAND Corporation: Additive Manufacturing in 2040. The report subtitle: Powerful Enabler, Disruptive Threat looks at how companies, and by extension, educators, might want to prepare for various challenges and big opportunities facing the growing AM opportunities.

RAND Corporation, a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decision-making through research and analysis, produced the report as part of a broader effort of its RAND Ventures to look at security challenges our world may face in the next 20-plus years. The research was conducted within the RAND Center for Global Risk and Security.

As additive manufacturing (AM) technician education increases, it is helpful to look at the effects of political, technological, social, and demographic trends facing 3D printing. This short, free report may give future graduates ideas for new AM products and services. RAND’s report aims to do just that and increase awareness of how our uses of AM might profoundly impact global and local economies.

While the report looked specifically at international security, and threats to it, it also alludes to ways manufacturers will be affected as businesses. It digs into the history, the value of AM, and its growth:

“The use of AM within various industries, both traditional manufacturing and more niche applications, has grown dramatically in recent years. However, not all industries and products will be equally affected. Despite some optimists’ predictions that AM will become ubiquitous, the benefits and costs of this technology will likely vary widely across sectors. Eventually, some products could be entirely produced through AM, radically transforming these industries, but others might remain fairly constant as traditional manufacturing methods continue to dominate in price and quality.”

As the RAND report makes suggestions for how companies and governments will want to prepare for a secure future, students and technicians can use this report to consider career directions and business opportunities they might want to pursue. Download the Additive Manufacturing in 2040 report.

Somerset Community College Offers 3D Printing Technician Certificate

In February, Tennessee Tech University (TTU) College of Engineering announced its Golden Eagle Additively Innovative Lecture Series, an online webinar event that reaches people around the world. The third lecture focuses on a relatively new 3D printing technician certificate offered at Somerset Community College (SCC).

The formal title of the third lecture in the series is “AM Research and Applications for Real World Production and Impact” with Eric N. Wooldridge, PE, RA, Professor of Additive Manufacturing, Workforce Development, and Pre-Engineering at SCC, Kentucky.

All across the USA, industry is increasingly interested in training for 3D printing. Not many schools offer a degree in 3D printing (yet), two or four year, and fewer have specialized certificates for those interested in the field. From automotive to aerospace, biomedical to home improvement to Hollywood special effects, additive manufacturing training is forecasted for growth.

Somerset Community College (SCC) is the first institution of higher education in Kentucky to offer a statewide certificate in additive manufacturing. In fact, it is one of the few in the nation and comes up early in a Google search for a related search, such as, “3D printing technician certificate schools colleges.”

Professor Wooldridge explains:

The move to go “certificate” is because industry is asking for students with skills as fast as possible whether referring to additive or welding, it wants technicians that can produce and can produce now. Additive manufacturing is still hardly known and relatively misunderstood, so we created the one-year certificate to allow various Somerset degree programs to add these skills into their Associates degree path and help to integrate additive within the company along with their primary job.  We wanted to create an additive “foothold” situation within our state so that existing manufacturers will have someone on the inside that can help them transition faster to the technology instead of lagging behind the curve of their competitors.

We also created a demonstration process to entice industry leaders to consider additive within their own operations.  We call it the “Netflix deal” where a company can come to us to try an idea with 3D printing – we’ll will take out all the risk of equipment cost, and the need for expertise, etc., produce a demonstration example for them relative to their operations (sort of like a Netflix trial that hooks you into the service).

After the experience, most will immediately want to do this on their own – so they send us employees for training – in some cases just one employee, in others we have trained 7 people for 16 hours of one-on-one training, or more accurately, re-training. Local employers have been very interested, supportive, and tapping into this new educational technology opportunity.  Over time, the goal is for graduating students to get hired at these same types of companies. 

But in either approach we are steadily making progress in integrating practical 3D printing applications into our region and our entire state.  So that we will have a workforce well suited for implementing cutting edge manufacturing innovations, as well as creating an ideal economic investment opportunity for tier one companies.

You can find a host of resources on the SCC web page here on the “Research and Grant Materials” folder (marked with the red arrow via the link/image above). Professor Wooldridge has a variety of terrific case studies, videos, materials testing projects and photos, as well as some program brochures. All of this is in a shared cloud storage drive.

Here are some of the courses required for the 3D Printing Technician-Level 1 Certificate (Total: 16 to 18 credit hours):

  • DPT 100 Introduction to 3D Printing Technology
  • DPT 102 3D Printing Technology Fundamentals
  • BAS 160 Introduction to Business
  • BAS 170 Entrepreneurship
  • DPT 150 Introduction to Engineering Mechanics for 3D Printing
  • DPT 280 Special Projects for 3D Printing, Level 1
  • A related technical elective
  • A related technical elective

Golden Eagle Additively Innovative Lecture Series at Tennessee Tech University

Tennessee Tech University (TTU), over the last 5 semesters, has planned and delivered the “TED Talks of Additive Manufacturing,” says Dr. Ismail Fidan, Professor of the Department of Manufacturing and Engineering Technology. The series, known as the “Golden Eagle Additively Innovative Lecture Series” is delivered via Zoom, a web video conferencing platform.

NOTE: If you or your students are looking for the most current 3D technology and the opportunity it presents, sign up for the web-based lectures on 3D printing here. Full text details on the webinars are at the end of this post.

The lecture series has trained 500-plus people from all over the world, from Africa to Europe to North America, on a wide variety of timely, hot Additive Manufacturing (AM) topics. These talks are aimed at AM industry professionals as well as STEM educators. If you have been looking for on-point, deeper talks about Additive Manufacturing, keep tabs on what Dr. Fidan and his team are doing at Tennessee Tech University.

The lectures are offered through the iMakerSpace, which was established as a university-wide, student-centered space under the leadership of the Colleges of Engineering and Business. It serves as a focal point on campus to provide training, service, partnership, research and evaluation in Innovation and Entrepreneurship to all disciplines. It also encourages interdisciplinary teams and provides support and training to extend Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E) activities into research and the classroom.

AM WATCH is an ATE funded project focused on the skills AM technicians need to know.  The AM Studios provide STEM educators with the education/training/exposure to 3D that they can integrate into their current programs.

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Golden Eagle Additively Innovative Lecture Series SPRING 2018

  • February 22: Wire + Arc Additive Manufacturing: enabling 10-meter metal parts with Filomeno Martina, Ph.D., WAAMMat Program Manager Welding Engineering and Laser Processing Center, Cranfield University, UK
  • March 1: Free and Easy Software for Designing for 3–D Printing with Timothy Gornet, Manager of the Operations Rapid Prototyping Center, University of Louisville, Kentucky
  • March 29: AM Research and Applications for Real World Production and Impact with Eric N. Wooldridge, PE, RA, Professor of Additive Manufacturing, Workforce Development, and Pre-Engineering at Somerset Community College, Kentucky
  • April 19: Dental 3–D Printing Overview with Frank Alifui-Segbaya, Program Director for Bachelor of Dental Technology School of Dentistry and Oral Health, Griffith University, Australia