Behind-the-Scenes Look at Marvel Ironman Suit Metal 3D Printing Project at Mines

On Day One of M-STEM, Dr. Craig Brice led a behind-the-scenes tour to the Mines 3D printing lab in the CoorsTek Center for Applied Science and Engineering building. In this short video clip, you can hear Dr. Brice explain a bit about the making of the suit, showcasing one of the chest plates. The Marvel Ironman was a joint project with television host Adam Savage. 

Plus, here are a few photos from the 3D printing lab tour (you may have to click the thumbnails to see them more clearly:


Learn more about the Materials in STEM (M-STEM) grant and workshop here. You can also watch the Denver7 TV station news clip here which gives an excellent student perspective and footage shared by Dr. Brice in his M-STEM talk.

Stay tuned for our second post on Dr. Brice’s Tuesday presentation as well as a cool reveal about how he worked to make the suit tougher for one of the special requests from Adam Savage and team.

M-STEM, sponsored by the National Science Foundation as part of an Advanced Technological Education (ATE) with MatEdU, provides hands-on sessions that bring together students, faculty, industry and business to strengthen understanding of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) principles, especially relating to advancing materials science, and to enhancing a K-20 technology education integration. 

Materials in STEM (M-STEM) Workshop At Colorado School Of Mines (Day Two)

Day Two of the M-STEM event held just as much interest and captivated attention as did Day One. You can read about the two keynotes (brief overviews) and poster session winners here: Materials in STEM (M-STEM) Workshop At Colorado School Of Mines (Day One).  Intensives are a unique way to accomplish a new skill through a more comprehensive format loaded with interactivity and hands-on labs.

There were four intensive sessions that included:

Critical Materials are a set of materials that have been identified as having significant supply risks with no easy substitutes. . Discussion centered around their harvest and production, then how those materials make it into everyday products and finally the recycling of those critical materials. 

The Science of Stuff took a close look at the gaps in traditional chemistry education. Instructors guided their educator peers on how to use solid matter, metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites to find creative ways to fit these into their existing curriculum. Plus a little bit of heat. (See photo below.)


Nanoscience in the Classroom provided a number of novel approaches to helping educators reach students with nanoscience content that can be easily integrated into existing classrooms. This session was organized by Nano-Link, which distributes nanoscience lab materials to educators. 

Pewter Gravity Casting in the Mines Foundry showcased the school’s foundry area and participants learned how casting is used in manufacturing. The class focused on how to safely  handle molten metal and pour it into a mold. Low-temperature desktop heating units were used to show how one could add this to a classroom environment. 

Tuesday’s keynote by Dr. Craig Brice presented the behind-the-scenes details of his Marvel Ironman project that metal 3D printed a complete Ironman suit in titanium. Again, separate post to follow with photos and video.

Materials in STEM (M-STEM) Workshop At Colorado School Of Mines (Day One) 

This year’s Materials in STEM (M-STEM) event in Golden, Colorado offered educators and students a wide range of materials science hands-on, participative demonstrations, and powerful presentations from well-known experts. Hosted by the Colorado School of Mines and the Critical Materials Institute, the M-STEM workshops were filled with a mix of faculty, staff, and students from the school, as well as the same from out of town.

We have shared a number of photos on The National Resource Center for Materials Technology Education (MatEdU) Facebook page. MatEdU is a NSF-funded Center housed at Edmonds Community College.

The Monday keynote will be covered in greater depth in a separate post, but Dr. Iver Anderson’s talk on Climate Change, was well-attended, filled with current research findings, and prompted good discussion. Ames Laboratory scientist Dr. Anderson was recently inducted into the Michigan Tech Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) Academy of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering (MME). MatEdU shared about this prestigious award on Facebook

Tuesday’s keynote, by Dr. Craig Brice, also captured attention due to his unique project of 3D printing a full Marvel Ironman suit out of titanium. On Monday, he led a short tour through the Mines lab and workshop where he showed behind-the-scenes details of that project where he partnered with Adam Savage, (known for the MythBusters television show) but now the host of a new television show that requested and joined forces with Dr. Brice to build the suit. Again, separate post to follow with photos and video. 

Another lively portion on Day One was the Student Poster Session where students from Mines as well as TEAMM Network member students from Tennessee Tech University, presented their research projects to a panel of judges who moved through the large hall of poster exhibits over several hours. The TTU team won a Third Place award. 

Here are the poster session winners:


  1. Dalton Garrett, Nb and Prior Microstructure Effects on Induction Hardening Response of 1060 Steel 
  2. William Schenken, Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Study of Sodium Guests in Silicon Clathrates


  1. Isabella Mendoza, Using Parametric Equations as Inspiration for Dance Choreography
  2. Deborah McGott, Lightweight, flexible power via liftoff of thin film solar cells
  3. Ankit Gupta and Seymour Hasanov, TechBot – A Mobile Multitasking 3D Printer (TTU team) (follow the link for more photos on the project).

To give you a better idea of what you can learn at the M-STEM workshops, you can download the official 2019 M-STEM Workshop Agenda and Schedule. The original “Save the Date” AM News post is here. The sessions and keynotes each day covered topics, such as:

  • Corrosion of Metals…more fun than rocket science!
  • Integration of Workplace Competencies
  • Helping Girls Choose STEM Careers
  • Critical Materials Institute Classroom Toolkit
  • Materials Classroom Labs
  • Superhero Materials (Ironman presentation)
  • Copper Mining and Environmental Recovery
  • Meet Climate Change Challenges with Clean Energy Innovations
  • Glassblowing
  • Nano’s Role in Water Treatment & Filtration
  • Beams & Bridges and Stress-strain Curves
  • Designing Foods with Sugar
  • Hydro Printing

In partnership with Edmonds Community College and the Colorado School of Mines, Critical Materials Institute, The STEM Guitar Building Project, Nano-Link, and Tennessee Tech were sponsors of the event. In addition, here are the exhibitors who shared materials and resources with attendees: FLATE – Florida Advanced Technological Education, ASM Materials Education Foundation, Critical Materials Institute (also sponsor), Nano-Link (also sponsor), and ATE Community.

You can read about Day Two here.

TTU Engineering Students To Present Posters At SME RAPID + TCT 2019

Each year, the nation’s largest 3D printing event, RAPID + TCT, provides an opportunity for students with its Poster Challenge. The goal of the challenge is to foster student interest in additive manufacturing (AM) and provide the AM engineering community with fresh perspectives and innovative ideas.

The poster competition also creates a forum where attendees can share ideas with peers, gain visibility as a subject-matter expert, and particularly for students, to establish relationships within the industry as they start preparing for their future career.

There is a dedicated exhibits area at this year’s show in Detroit, Michigan (see our tips for getting the most of out of the RAPID + TCT event) where posters will be displayed on Tuesday and Wednesday; open to all event attendees. On Wednesday, May 22, a special Interactive Poster Session is scheduled where the poster presenters (students) will present their work to the judges, interact with guests, answer questions, and discuss the technology/features of their display.

TEAMM Network member, Tennessee Tech University (TTU) Engineering students (Dr. Ismail Fidan’s team) submitted two poster abstracts and both were accepted this year:

  • Universal Bottle Cap Opener design and 3d-printing
  • Thermomechanical analysis of short-fiber reinforced additively-manufactured components

Students are actively working on their poster presentations. This is Dr. Fidan’s team’s first time submitting posters and are learning that the competition pool is large. Still, it is an honor to be accepted and to be in the running for one of SME’s prizes.

Students must provide a description of the design along with supporting figures and photographs. Poster presentations will be judged on several factors, including:

  • Creativity
  • Integrity of analysis
  • Impact on manufacturing cost, quality or performance requirements
  • Quality of the presentation (timeliness, graphics, clarity, spelling and grammar)
  • Poster display — visual representation

Poster abstracts represent research, case studies and/or applications in any of the following areas:

  • 3D imaging & scanning/CT scanning
  • Additive manufacturing applications
  • Additive manufacturing design considerations
  • Application of AM to the aerospace, automotive, consumer products, medical industry, among others
  • Sustainability of AM
  • Applied academic research
  • Direct-Write printed materials and electronics
  • Engineering Education, Outreach, and workforce development
  • Hybrid systems applications
  • Material development and characterization
  • New and emerging additive manufacturing processes
  • Post processing
  • Software modeling/Digital thread

The competition is open to registered students in their junior or senior year of their undergraduate program or graduate-level degree engineering programs. Although this year’s deadline has passed, students and professors can learn more about the Poster Challenge here.

Poster Challenge Prizes & Awards

The posters will be judged and there will be first runner-up, second runner-up and overall winner. Cash prizes and awards, listed below (subject to the quality of the entries), will be presented onstage at RAPID + TCT prior to the keynotes. Two first prize and two second prize winners will be selected from undergraduate and graduate students.

  • First Prize – $750; Second Prize – $500, Third Prize – $250 (Awardees must be present at the Awards Ceremony on Thursday to accept the prizes)
  • First prize and second prize plaques
  • A certificate of achievement
  • A complimentary, one-year SME membership
  • A recognition letter sent to the winners with a copy sent to the university advisor/educator
  • Recognition letter to a student newspaper/technical publication designated by winners

If you are a professional, moving along in your career, make a point of stopping by the Poster Challenge section and meeting some of these ambitious young women and men to help them on their networking and career journey. The AM industry is growing, but still a niche within the larger manufacturing world and one where we can support and encourage our younger peers.

Advice From TEAMM Network Members On How To Prepare For RAPID 2019

As one of the biggest 3D Printing trade shows is about to start, AM News asked its members for tips and ideas to help you get the most from the RAPID + TCT event at the Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan on May 20 through 23. With 6,000-plus registered attendees, over 400 exhibiting companies, and more than 110 conference presentations, there is more than enough to keep you learning new concepts and networking with peers.

There are many compelling reasons people go to the RAPID event each year — mostly, to keep up with the cutting edge changes in 3D printing overall (which are significant on their own), but specifically within medical technologies, metal 3D printing, and the creative, unbelievable artwork, to name but a few. Figuring out how to take it all in is a big challenge with such an enormous tradeshow. Here are ideas to make it manageable.

Dr. Ismail Fidan at Tennessee Tech University highly recommended that attendees get the RAPID mobile app for either iOS or Android. Either one can help you register for conference workshops or peruse the event’s list of 429 exhibitors (at press time).

“Other than educators like me, several industrial and commercial organizations attend so they learn the latest trends and technologies in their specific AM fields. It is a big event and hard to visit all the exhibitors. It is nearly impossible to listen to all the presentations, but with some organizing before you go, you can get a tremendous amount of new knowledge from this must-attend event for almost all STEM educators and practitioners,” he said.

Mel Cossette, Executive Director & Principal Investigator of the National Resource Center for Materials Technology Education, said that she has found it helpful to look at the tracks prior to attending and identifying areas of interest. She then looks at the sessions to find the overlap and plan her event time.

“Also, look at the exhibit floor plan to get a sense of which exhibitors are of high interest, mid-interest and maybe not so much and where they are located. I found I could get tied up with exhibitors that I found personally interesting rather than those that I aligned to the tracks/sessions I was attending or planned to attend. This way I got to the ones I really needed to connect with and then visited others as time permitted,” she advised.

Carl Dekker, founder and President of Met-L-Flo suggested that students and young professionals check out the Career Development Forum to hear Tech Talks from additive manufacturing experts who will discuss their current role, opportunities and share their career journey. The forum is an interactive event designed to enhance career development and grow future generations of leaders in the additive manufacturing industry.

You can learn more and register for the annual RAPID 3D Printing event here.