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.

 

Community Colleges Are Innovating and Incubating New Ideas And Companies

As the world changes, education moves to change with it. A new book on the power of community colleges to serve as new business incubators and innovation centers is about to hit the marketplace. Community Colleges as Incubators of Innovation: Unleashing Entrepreneurial Opportunities for Communities and Students by editors Rebecca Corbin, Ed.D. and Ron Thomas, Ph.D. offer a collection of expert contributors’ thoughts.

With the support of the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE), they “start from the premise that community colleges are uniquely positioned to lead entrepreneurial initiatives through both internally-generated curriculum design and through collaboration with the local entrepreneurial community to build bridges between the classroom to the community which in turn can offer models of implementation and constitute a network or support system for students. Community colleges can become incubators of innovation, a magnet for talent, and provide the impetus for development strategies that their communities have not begun to realize.”

At AM News, we hear about a lot of projects helping students to complete their degrees or certificates and get into the workforce. Colleges within the Technician Education in Additive Manufacturing & Materials (TEAMM) project actively work to advance technician education, particularly in materials science (and the adaption of ASTM skills standards).

TEAMM Network member schools are actively building makerspaces, innovation hubs, and entrepreneur research experiences, just to name a few of the concepts. In fact, we have profiled a number of them from Tennessee Technological University (TTU), University of Louisville (its Rapid Prototyping Center), and The Facility makerspace at Edmonds Community College.

TTU is consistently active in developing unique projects to engage students in an entrepreneurial way. Dr. Ismail Fidan is the Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-PI on numerous NSF Grant awards to keep these college-age innovators on their toes. Check out two of the TTU entrepreneurial initiatives coming out of the College of Engineering:

Community colleges continue to adapt to the ever-changing job market. These entrepreneurial incubators and related coursework, as well as micro-credentials in the form of certificates, are providing students with more new startup ideas (and mentoring for those ventures) as well as work opportunities. If you wonder if today’s college programs are preparing students for the future of work and business, the answer appears to be a resounding yes.

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NOTE: The new book from NACCE is available on February 28, 2019. *Receive 20% off your preorder by using the code NACCE8 at checkout. Offer expires February 28, 2019.

Smart Manufacturing NSF Funding Demonstrates Collaboration Across College Programs

In late summer 2018, the Motlow State Community College (MSCC) in Tennessee and Mechatronics Professor Khalid Tantawi was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education project grant to advance Smart Manufacturing concepts. Joining that $545,000 grant project as a Co-Principal Investigator is Dr. Ismail Fidan, from Tennessee Tech University and a TEAMM Network member.

What is Smart Manufacturing?

In recent years, organizations, such as, The World Economic Forum has been studying the “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” also known as Industry 4.0, or in the USA – “Smart Manufacturing.” It seeks to change how we currently manufacture by employing advanced sensors, computer controls, big data (and the modeling and analysis of it) and other automation technologies to make manufacturing more efficient.

According to a release from MSCC, “The project, titled “Smart Manufacturing for America’s Revolutionizing Technological Transformation” will feature Motlow as a national hub for training Smart Manufacturing for Mechatronics and Advanced Manufacturing educators across the nation.” You can learn more about it here.

Image Courtesy: Motlow State Community College

One of the successful aspects to many National Science Foundation grant projects is that the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program creates opportunities to collaborate across multiple educational institutions and disciplines as well as between professors at those schools.

The TEAMM Collaboration Network is a terrific example of this cross pollination with its diverse 30-plus network members across 2-year community colleges, 4-year colleges and universities, as well as other education, nonprofit, and corporate entities. The smart manufacturing project with Motlow is clearly an example as are programs like another Dr. Fidan project profile here on AM News: Additive Manufacturing – Workforce Advancement Training Coalition and Hub (AM-WATCH). Or head directly to Dr. Fidan’s profile which lists the many ways that he collaborates with and supports his colleagues at TTU, TEAMM Network Members and other institutions.

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To learn more about the larger ATE program, you can go here. But here is part of the summary of the program from the website:

With an emphasis on two-year Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs), the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program focuses on the education of technicians for the high-technology fields that drive our nation’s economy. The program involves partnerships between academic institutions (grades 7-12, IHEs) and industry to promote improvement in the education of science and engineering technicians at the undergraduate and secondary institution school levels. The ATE program supports curriculum development; professional development of college faculty and secondary school teachers; career pathways; and other activities. The program invites research proposals that advance the knowledge base related to technician education. It is expected that projects will be faculty driven and that courses and programs credit bearing, although materials developed may also be used for incumbent worker education.

SMARTT or Smart2 project team includes:

  • Khalid Tantawi:  Assistant Professor of Mechatronics in Motlow State Community College, Smyrna, TN
  •  Ismail Fidan: Professor of Manufacturing Engineering at Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, TN
  • Karen Birch: Professor at Tunxis Community College and director of the NSF ATE funded Regional Center for Next Generation Manufacturing, Connecticut.

The goals of the project will be to:

  • Create educational modules and workforce development tools on Smart Manufacturing
  • Identify the skill sets and needs of Smart Manufacturing professionals
  • Develop a repository that serves as a knowledge base for industry and STEM educators
  • Increase awareness about Smart Manufacturing
  • Develop a knowledge base of best practices for Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) site visits

Additively Innovative Lecture Series At TTU – FALL 2018

For the past couple of years, the Center for Manufacturing Research at Tennessee Tech University (TTU) has been hosting short talks by Additive Manufacturing experts in the field. These lectures are available for students directly on campus in the iMakerSpace in the Volpe Library on campus, but also online in a webinar format from anywhere using the Zoom platform.

Additively Innovative Lecture Series – FALL 2018 Sessions

All lectures are 11:00 – 11:30 am, Central Time

Although it is already passed (Sept 13), the session: “Integrating Additive Manufacturing into CAD Courses” shared by Tom Singer at Sinclair Community College in Dayton Ohio was a popular one. Professor Singer is well known for his STEM Guitar Building Institute where students build an electric guitar during a one-week workshop. The Institute is also a member of the TEAMM Network, sponsor of AM News. There will be a Guitar Building Summit from November 3-5 leading into the upcoming annual M-STEM (Materials in STEM) workshop on November 5 and 6, at the University of Alabama – Birmingham.

Upcoming Additively Innovative Lectures

Thursday, October 11:

–Where’s my Spare Part? Changing Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul through Additive Manufacturing

Brett P. Conner, Youngstown State University, Ohio

Thursday, October 25:

–Design for Additive Manufacturing: The Key to the Industrial Adoption of Additive Manufacturing

Olaf Diegel, Lund University, Sweden

Thursday, November 15:

–Functionally Graded Additive Manufacturing

Eujin Pei, Brunel University London, United Kingdom

Thursday, November 29:

–How to Integrate Additive Manufacturing in Your Production

Benjamin Denayer, The Collective Center for the Belgian Technology Industry, Heverlee, Belgium

The Golden Eagle Additively Innovative Virtual Lecture Series is partially funded by the NSF Award 1601587 “AM-WATCH: Additive Manufacturing-Workforce Advancement Training Coalition and Hub”. For more information contact Ismail Fidan, Ph.D., Professor, Innovation and Techno-Entrepreneurship Faculty Fellow, Manufacturing and Engineering Technology, Tennessee Tech University.

See past presentations in the Additively Innovative Lecture Series Archive which lists over two dozen presentations about 3D printing (additive manufacturing) on a variety of levels and interest areas from dental applications to bioprinting, design thinking to materials science research. Here are just a few of the specific sessions:

  • Dental 3-D Printing Overview, Frank Alifui-Segbaya, Griffith University
  • Free and Easy Software for Designing for 3-D Printing, Tim Gornet, Rapid Prototyping Center, University of Louisville
  • 3-D Printing, Design Thinking, and the Entrepreneurial Mindset, Phan Tran, Center for Architecture, Design, and Engineering, Lake Washington Institute of Technology
  • Making It Work, Marilyn Barger, NSF Florida Advanced Technological Education Center, Hillsborough Community College
  • Content and Curriculum Development Efforts in 3-D Printing, Jesse Roitenberg, Stratasys
  • The Development of a Framework for 3-D Printing, Casting, & Entrepreneurship, Jay Watson, Cookeville High School
  • Mel Cossette and Robin Ballard, National Resource Center for Materials Technology Education
  • Additive Manufacturing Today and in the Future, Terry Wohlers, Wohlers Associates

AM News covered the Spring 2018 Additively Innovative Lecture Series here.

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.