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.

Wohlers Report 2019 Academic Activities Chapter By Dr. Ismail Fidan

Dr. Ismail Fidan from Tennessee Tech University is in the news often. The engineering department professor is actively serving the AM community; from his students at TTU to the larger group of professionals and analysts who read the annual Wohlers Report. Dr. Fidan contributes a thorough chapter each year on the activities and capabilities within academia.

He notes there is a strong and growing demand for workers trained in additive manufacturing. There are many colleges and universities adding certificates and degrees centered on AM processes. Many of these institutions are conducting research and forming industry-level partnerships within AM.

In the report, he states, “Professional survey results and interviews suggest that skill sets developed using AM technologies are vital for graduating students who are entering the workforce. In response to the growing opportunities in the AM job market, interest among students in AM-related design and manufacturing courses has increased significantly.”

“AM provides students with the opportunity to take their designs to the next level by allowing them to get involved in the fabrication stage. In response to this need, the number  of newly established AM- based makerspaces and innovation institutes around the world has grown significantly.”

As a TEAMM Network member, Dr. Fidan is committed to technician education. In approximately 15 pages, in the Academic activities and capabilities chapter, he chronicles the many academic projects and initiatives taking place around the world. It is a veritable Who’s Who in additive manufacturing.

According to his Wohlers Report 2019 chapter, there are 125 academic institutions and 14 research institutes listed along with short summaries of the areas of focus, including the individuals to contact. The 125 academic institutions are located in the following regions:

      • 28 in Asia/Pacific
      • 34 in Europe
      • 57 in North America
      • 6 in Africa and South America

Dr. Fidan has served as a member of the Wohlers Report team for the last three years. In his role, he collects and reports on the worldwide academic AM practices, trends, and innovations. Currently, he is one of the associate authors of the report. TEAMM continues to look to Dr. Ismail Fidan for his thought leadership within AM and education.

Tennessee Tech Launches New Mobile Multitasking 3D Printer

Tennessee Tech University (TTU) announced today that it is launching TechBot, a mobile, multitasking 3D Printer designed, developed and fabricated by TTU faculty and students. TTU has applied for a provisional U.S. Patent on the 3D printer.

Although there are many 3D printers on the market today, the TechBot differs in its mobility. Most printers today demand a rigid frame structure. This new printer is not limited to a traditional work envelope as are other conventional 3D printers –  the user can define and set up their own work surface to print almost any type of material from the paste-based extruder.

TTU TechBot 3D Printer
TTU TechBot 3D Printer

This is another key difference with the TechBot – it does not use traditional 3D printer materials, such as, filament, powder, pellets, or resin that are commonly used in several other additive manufacturing processes. It has a paste-based method, using a syringe, to dispense any paste type material on any X and Y direction. It can do 200mm in height on the Z axis.

The team has found a number of uses and applications for this Mobile printer:

      • Using the TechBot mobile multitasking platform to develop a mobile tape applicator for multi-purpose gyms. This will result in a quick and precise method to convert a multi-purpose gym floor from a basketball court to a volleyball court.
      • The TechBot platform can also be used to incorporate a fast drying paint extruder to paint team logos onto arena floors. During Sports tournaments, the TechBot could paint both team logos onto an arena floor within minutes. This paint can be removed with the appropriate dissolver.
      • Another application for the TechBot platform is in the construction industry to extrude grout between tile gaps.

Other applications are being explored, across a wide range of areas, such as, 3D food printing (think cakes, pies, desserts) to circuit boards. The team has also looked into the printing of concrete structures with the TechBot. 

The TechBot is designed to incorporate 4 omnidirectional wheels at the corners which greatly improves the print accuracy. The extrusion head is incorporated within the frame of the TechBot, this makes it possible for one z-axis to be capable of printing multiple materials using different extrusion methods. The TechBot is also offered as a do-it-yourself (DIY) kit (assembly required).

TechBot is funded through NSF Award 1601587, Additive Manufacturing Workforce Advancement Training Coalition and Hub (AM-WATCH). Research Team Members are:

The TechBot team also received technical support from Ed Tackett (University of Louisville), Amy Elliott (Oak Ridge National Laboratory), Tom Singer (Sinclair Community College), and Mel Cossette (Edmonds Community College).

Click on the images to get a full-size photo of each image. If gallery does not display an arrow to move forward, hit the back button on your browser.


Technical specs of the TechBot

  • Size: X-37cm Y-37cm Z-66cm
    • Max printing area: X-unlimited Y-unlimited Z-200mm
  • OmniWheels: 60mm diameter
  • Syringe Extruder: Uses a 150mL syringe
  • Driven by a 40mm Nema 17 motor with a 27:1 gear ratio
    • Lead screw is used for the up and down motion
  • Syringe Extruder frame was designed in house
    • Utilizes a filament run out sensor
  • Board: MKS GEN L V1.0 Board
    • Runs on marlin code
  • Stepper Motors: 4x 48mm Nema 17 stepper motors
    • Using Nema 17 motor mounts
  • Frame: 2020 aluminum extrusion
    • Size: 32cm x 32cm x 40cm
  • Aluminum corner brackets and right angle plates for a perfectly square frame
    • Z Axis: 34mm  Nema 17 stepper motor turning a lead screw for z axis movement
    • Supported by 2 linear guide rails with linear bearings

TEAMM Network Member Dr. Ismail Fidan Profiled In News

At TEAMM and AM News, we like to celebrate when our members receive recognition for their accomplishments. Recently, Dr. Ismail Fidan from Tennessee Tech University (TTU) was profiled in the regional newspaper, the Cookeville Herald-Citizen, for being a researcher focused on how additive manufacturing is making an impact on everyday life.

Dr. Ismail Fidan profiled in Cookeville Herald-Citizen

The article highlighted that, “Fidan Is working towards securing his 10th grant funded by the National Science Foundation, which would bring the amount of grants funded for his research to more than $4.6 million during his time at TTU, all related to additive manufacturing. He has been working in the field for nearly 15 years.”

The profile also mentions how he has worked “with other institutions to establish an additive manufacturing laboratory framework, including a smartphone app that helps institutions work together, collaborate and share resources for 3D printing projects.” This includes the AM lab at Edmonds Community College.

AM News, of course, has written about the importance of Dr. Fidan’s Golden Eagle Additively Innovative Virtual Lecture Series (SEE NOTE for last two events for Spring 2019 below), a web-based presentation series given by national and international experts in additive manufacturing. So far, the series has trained more than 500 people in the diverse applications of additive manufactur­ing. In addition to these web-based lectures, Fidan organizes an annual workshop on additive manufacturing to address gaps in the current knowledge base of technicians through the development of curriculum and educational materials and sup­port to more than 30 community college and high school instructors per year.

There is still time to join in on the final two lectures (click that above link for more info OR you can click this Zoom link in any web browser at 11am U.S. Central Standard Time):

      • Thursday, March 28: Preparing Your Model for 3D Printing with Adam Wills, Master II Instructor, Computer Aided Design Technology, Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Nashville
      • Thursday, April 18: Project iGen: Using Additive Manufacturing for Service Learning with Amy Fricks, Math Teacher, DeKalb County High School, Tennessee.

You can also peruse the entire 2016 through 2018 Additively Innovative Lecture Series archive here.

Hats off to Dr. Fidan for the recent media mention as well as his commitment to the combination of additive manufacturing and technician education.

Demand Grows For 3D Printing Technician Education At Undergraduate And Graduate Levels

There is a worldwide emphasis and need to increase skills in additive manufacturing. One only need look around at the number of educational and for-profit ventures building out detailed degree programs and curricula to see it.

In the news last month, Wichita State University announced a new 3D Printing Technician Graduate Certificate program at WSU. It is exciting to see this higher level program in addition to the many we see in motion and developing at community college and 4-year college programs.

Dr. Ismail Fidan at TTU
Dr. Ismail Fidan at TTU

We talked to TEAMM Collaboration Network member, Dr. Ismail Fidan, who is a professor of Engineering at Tennessee Tech and associate author of the Wohlers Report, updating the annual academic R&D and education trends in AM around the world. Dr. Fidan shared that “There is no fully dedicated AM degree program at the public community college and university level within the ABET accreditation records. But there are several manufacturing degree programs. I personally believe that there will be some coming in the future.”

According to Dr. Fidan, there are several Master and certification programs on AM around the world. Some of the more recent ones are the Metal AM MS Program which will be offered by Cranfield University, UK. SME also came up with an AM certification program for the Community College level. (Links below.)

AM News profiled the Somerset Community College Offers 3D Printing Technician Certificate in mid-2018. Thanks to Tennessee Tech University (TTU) College of Engineering with its Golden Eagle Additively Innovative Lecture Series, an online webinar event that reaches people around the world. We learned about the Somerset certificate program through the webinar.

Wohlers Associates (publisher of the above-mentioned report), also a TEAMM member, created a unique Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) course that has since been requested by other companies and organizations. Terry Wohlers writes about the Impact of DfAM here.

Additive manufacturing is growing and its future looks bright. If you know of other degree programs and courses aimed at helping technicians, engineers, and other manufacturing specialists increase their skills, please get in touch so we can add them to our growing list and potential upcoming posts.

Further reference:

  • More info on the Wichita State University 3D Printing Technician Graduate Certificate program.
  • ABET is a nonprofit, ISO 9001 certified organization that accredits college and university programs in applied and natural science, computing, engineering and engineering technology.
  • Cranfield University in Bedford, UK, has just received official approval to launch a new Master’s Degree in Metal Additive Manufacturing. Now accepting applications for October 2019 intake, this MSc will give students direct access to the university’s state-of-the-art Wire + Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) systems, and the chance to work on projects for the WAAMMat consortium of 20 industrial partners.
  • SME: The Additive Manufacturing Technician Certification is ideal for a candidate with a two-year associates degree in additive manufacturing or currently enrolled in a college program, and/or has one or more years of working experience in a manufacturing related field. The prep course covers key roles and responsibilities for an AM technician, the AM process chain, design for AM, material and process selection, secondary processes, and key safety considerations. The certification exam is a three-hour proctored, open-book and open-note exam consisting of 120 multiple choice questions.