TEAMM Partners with Stratasys Education and GrabCAD for 3D Printing Challenge

For the last 14 years, Stratasys Education and GrabCAD (along with partners TEAMM and NCATC this year) have been conducting the Extreme Redesign Challenge for students around the world to make an existing design better.

You do not need a 3D printer to enter the competition and it is open for students around the world. Students can design an original piece of art, jewelry or architecture, or find a way to make an existing design better. The challenge is an opportunity to invent, innovate or improve something by re-engineering it to be printed in 3D in the annual Extreme Redesign Challenge. Participants can consider different 3D printing methodologies (FDM, SLS, SLA and PolyJet) and materials available for those methods, and then pick the best method for the production of your design.

Individual students or teams must create and submit 3D model files in .STL format with a detailed description explaining the design’s value and benefits. You can provide as many “images, renderings, relevant calculations, videos and screen shots of the design” to make your case for your design.

At press time there are 20 days left in the challenge; the Extreme Redesign Challenge entry deadline is February 26, 2018. Users must register for a GrabCAD community profile here.

Oh, lest we forget, there are cool prizes, plus full details on entry requirements from the Stratasys/GrabCAD website:

Challenge Prizes
  • Each student entrant: Receives a sheet of free tech tattoo stickers for entering.
  • Top 10 in each category: Receive a 3D printed model of their design and a Stratasys apparel item valued at up to $50.
  • 1st place winners: Receive a $2500 scholarship. Plus, their instructor will get a demo 3D printer for a limited-time classroom use.
  • 2nd place winners: Receive a $1000 scholarship.
  • NCATC School Entries: The National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers will award a $1000 scholarship to one winning entry in the engineering category. Post-secondary students from NCATC member schools will be eligible for this bonus prize.
Who Can Enter the Extreme Redesign Challenge?

This category is open to students currently enrolled (in person or talking coursework online) in middle or high schools worldwide (school grades 6 through 12). Entrants under the age of 18 must have their entries submitted by a parent or guardian over the age of 18. You may enter this challenge individually, or as a design team. All team members must be enrolled as a student in an educational institution or online program during the semester/term in which they contribute to the design. The Challenge is not open to any persons employed, past or present, as a professional in 3D printing. 

TEAMM Network Member Profile: Nano-Link at Dakota County Technical College

Some facts are too big to comprehend: A trillion dollars of US debt. While some are tiny and just as difficult: A sheet of paper is 100,000 nanometers thick. Human hair is 80,000 nanometers wide. And a strand of human DNA is a mere 2.5 nanometers in diameter. Nano-Link, supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, focuses on these tiniest of atoms and molecules, but it has a big vision.

Forecasts of nanotechnology workforce needs cite 500,000 nanotechnology technicians needed by 2020. As an Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Regional Center, Nano-Link, is tasked with growing both an industry and an education network to help meet these workforce needs, according to the website.

Watch Deb Newberry, former Principal Investigator for the Nano-Link project, explain the vision for nanotechnology for today’s students.

Nanotechnology covers subjects from physics and chemistry to emerging technologies such as photonics and biotechnology. It looks at market segments that go beyond the traditional electronics and materials industries, to encompass segments as diversified as lubricants, paper manufacturing, cellulose, energy, consumer products and the food industry.

Nano-Link began in 2008 at Dakota County Technical College creating a NanoScience 2-year Degree. With 10 years under their belt, the program continues to provide nanoscience course content to colleges: The Nano-Infusion Program (NIP) provides hands-on training, specialized modules that they offer at your location, at no cost to you. These products and services are for use in the (7 – 14) classroom or boardroom.

According to the website, the Nano-Link goals include:

  • Create a nationwide alliance of institutions that are the pipeline for the nanotechnology workforce.
  • Develop alliance faculty capacity to interface with industry, correlate industry-needed skills with program or course competencies and outcomes, and develop continuing relationships responsive to the changing technology environment.
  • Prepare students for the nanoscience and emerging technologies workforce.
  • Create a consortium of secondary educators that are masters in nanoscience education to engage students, including URMs.
  • Industry organizations and representatives are an integral part of the Nano-Link National Center.

Nano-Link has successfully advanced nanotechnology across nine colleges and two high schools. As they train the trainers, the program continues to grow and expand, proving that even the tiniest of molecules can make a difference.

Additional Resources: If you are looking for Core Competencies (performance indicators), the National Resource Center for Materials Technology Education offers a range of them. It specifically has a downloadable PDF for Nanotechnology Core Competencies.

According to the MatEdU website on Core competencies: “[they] provide a set of performance indicators that technicians, scientists, engineers, educators and technologists need to know in today’s advanced manufacturing environment to be able to accomplish in their work.”

Additive Manufacturing – Workforce Advancement Training Coalition and Hub (AM-WATCH)

In August, AM News reported on TEAMM Network member, Dr. Ismail Fidan from Tennessee Technological University, who created a new “train the trainer” 3D printing workshop called the Additive Manufacturing Studio aimed at STEM educators. The Studio is a nationwide program that has grown out of a larger project: The Additive Manufacturing Workforce Advancement Training Coalition and Hub (AM-WATCH).

AM-WATCH is being established to address gaps in the knowledge base of 21st century technicians to ensure they are prepared for advanced career placement. Since most of our readers will agree that Additive Manufacturing (AM) is changing the way we design and produce a wide range of products (and that term does not cover the diversity of objects being produced), there is and will be a growing demand for technicians in the industry.

According to the website and grant, “The objective of AM-WATCH is to address gaps in the current knowledge base of technicians through the development of curriculum and educational materials, delivery of professional development activities, support provided to 30+ community college and high school instructors per year, and expanded outreach activities targeting K-12 and community college teachers and students. Tennessee Technological University is collaborating with Community Colleges (CC), four-year universities, the ATE National Resource Center for Materials Technology Education, a national laboratory, industry, and government in the development of cutting-edge and multi-dimensional curriculum, activities, and toolkits for instructors.”

The Additive Manufacturing Studio for STEM educators mentioned above is part of this AM-WATCH project.

Keep up with what Tennessee Technological University is doing with their Additive Manufacturing program here: TTU AM-WATCH website.

Smartphones Can Record 3D Printer Sounds and Replicate The 3D Model

Nearly every machine has a distinct sound signature and that includes 3D printers with their multiple stepper motors. Thieves who are able to get physically close to a fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printer as it prints would be able to record the sounds as the model prints and then, by using sophisticated algorithms, reverse engineer that model and print it.

UPDATE 30JAN2018: Cyber acoustic analysis of additively manufactured objects was published in the The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology. Authors: Thomas Mativo, Colleen Fritz, and Ismail Fidan.

Dr. Ismail Fidan, Professor of the Department of Manufacturing and Engineering Technology and College of Engineering-Faculty Fellow in Innovation and Techno-Entrepreneurship at Tennessee Technological University and his team conducted a cybersecurity research project that was able to record 3D printer sounds as an object was printed and later replicate that model on another printer by performing a cyber acoustic analysis. A classification and regression model was completed on the audio recorded during the 3D printing process and G-Code data was created to attempt another 3D print.

Image Courtesy of Tennessee Tech University – Dr. Ismail Fidan

To date, according to the research paper and results, “Current security measures have focused on securing machines against cyber based attacks with cloud based resources and software programs. Nevertheless, attacks in the physical domain have also occurred… The physical component of AM machines opens up the system to vulnerabilities due to side-channels. Side-channels are indirect pathways that lead to the access of desired data such as obtaining G-Code from vibrational, acoustic, magnetic, or power emissions. Previous analysis of side-channels has been used to infer information about cyber domain data. Therefore, it is important to analyze these side-channels to better secure the system and prevent leakage of IP.”

Image Courtesy of Tennessee Tech University – Dr. Ismail Fidan

As other researchers have pointed out, these intellectual property risks are not far-fetched and present a real problem for additive manufacturing. Dr. Fidan and team are proving that it is possible to record and reproduce a 3D print. Built into that research, IP protection methods are sure to evolve. Keep track of Dr. Fidan’s work at Tennessee Technological University and its Additive Manufacturing (aka 3D Printing) efforts.

Illustration Courtesy of Tennessee Tech

Additional Resources:

The University of California, Irvine reported on a similar research project in 2016: Bad vibrations: UCI researchers find security breach in 3-D printing process.

“The team, led by Mohammad Al Faruque, director of UCI’s Advanced Integrated Cyber-Physical Systems Lab, showed that a device as ordinary and ubiquitous as a smartphone can be placed next to a machine and capture acoustic signals that carry information about the precise movements of the printer’s nozzle. The recording can then be used to reverse engineer the object being printed and re-create it elsewhere. Detailed processes may be deciphered through this new kind of cyberattack, presenting significant security risks.”

A team at the University of Buffalo published Smartphone hacks 3-D printer by measuring ‘leaked’ energy and acoustic waves.

“Unlike most security hacks, the researchers did not simulate a cyberattack. Many 3-D printers have features, such as encryption and watermarks, designed to foil such incursions. Instead, the researchers programmed a common smartphone’s built-in sensors to measure electromagnetic energy and acoustic waves that emanate from 3-D printers. These sensors can infer the location of the print nozzle as it moves to create the three-dimensional object being printed.”

M-STEM 2017 Materials And Beyond!

Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC) hosted the 30th annual Materials in STEM (M-STEM) Workshop 2017 in Hampton, Virginia on November 6 and 7.  107 participants enjoyed two full days of active engagement in materials science. They came from community colleges, universities, teachers of grades 8-12, government, students and industry; all gathering at TNCC for professional development.

On the first day, there were hands-on sessions that included lab work in ceramics and glass, composite sandwich panels, water rockets, nanoscience and thermosets.

On the second day, participants chose one of three tracks for a six hour, hands-on workshop about 3D Printing, Solids – the Science of Stuff, or Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).

  • In the UAS track, participants built a drone from a kit, practiced flying it through an obstacle course and gathered data they could analyze at the same time. The UAS Intensive was presented by the Virginia Space Grant Consortium.
Image by Eliana Pesola
  • In 3D printing track, participants were introduced to the concepts needed to design, model and print a prototype or production item.
  • The Solids-the Science of Stuff track presented great ways to incorporate chemistry that were authentic, low cost and relevant.
Image by Eliana Pesola

The entire two-day M-STEM event is designed for practical application to ensure that teachers can replicate the experiments or projects in a classroom.

Details on the Keynotes:

Dr. Darrel R. Tenney, former Director of Aerospace Vehicle Systems Technology at NASA Langley, who showcased some of the research on materials that has taken place during this 100 year anniversary period.

Dr. Magesh Chandramouli shared the second keynote presentation on virtual reality for active learning that was innovative, as he explained how low cost methods can be used to incorporate VR into the student learning experience. A great example of that was setting up a clean room virtually to teach safety strategies and protocols. Students then don’t have to worry about making a mistake or having to sneeze and requiring they reset the whole environment; they just keep going.

Tom Singer, Principal Investigator for the Guitar Building Project, was the lunch keynote.  He gave an overview of the program and an explanation of the STEM components in the curriculum.  He also shared several examples of students who have achieved better results in STEM classes as a result of their participation.