LIFT Is Leading The Nation In Lightweight Technology

Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow, or LIFT, is a Detroit-based, public-private partnership committed to the development and deployment of advanced lightweight metal manufacturing technologies.

This post is both an event announcement and an update on what LIFT is doing to improve and inspire STEM education. At the upcoming Manufacturing Day 2017, Friday, October 6, LIFT and IACMI – The Composites Institute will unveil a state-of-the-art Lightweighting research and development laboratory in Detroit’s historic Corktown neighborhood.

The $50 million facility will bring together two Manufacturing USA institutes focusing on cutting edge lightweighting applied research and development in metals and composite materials. This facility will bring together advance manufacturing experts from around the country to conduct innovative research and advanced lightweight manufacturing. More info on the event at the end of this post.

LIFT is driven by implementing education and training initiatives to better prepare the workforce today and in the future. LIFT is one of the founding institutes of Manufacturing USA, and is funded in part by the Department of Defense with management through the Office of Naval Research. LIFT is also part of The National Resource Center for Materials Technology Education (MatEdU), headquartered at Edmonds Community College (home of TEAMM AM News). You can learn more about their lightweighting technology work on the LIFT YouTube channel.

See the full story about Finley in the link at end of post.

Earlier this year, LIFT, along with Tennessee Tech University iCube, the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network, the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers and the Foundation for Kentucky Industry announced the winning schools of the 2016-2017 MakerMinded competition. Eight schools in Tennessee and Kentucky were recognized for excellence in advanced manufacturing and STEM learning through their participation in MakerMinded, a new online STEM learning and competition platform.

MakerMinded was launched at the start of the 2016 school year to impassion students about advanced manufacturing and provide them with transformational learning experiences that set them on track towards 21st century manufacturing careers. The platform provides access to a diverse range of national and local STEM and advanced manufacturing programs, including manufacturing facility tours, gaming activities, project-based learning, and competitions.

Tennessee schools were awarded in May at the Tennessee STEM Innovation Summit in Murfreesboro:

  • STEM School Chattanooga – Hamilton County Department of Ed (Chattanooga, TN)
  • Heritage High School – Blount County Schools (Maryville, TN)
  • Cookeville High School – Putnam County School District (Cookeville, TN)
  • White Station Middle School – Shelby County Schools (Memphis, TN)
  • Rose Park Middle School – Metro Nashville Public Schools (Nashville, TN)
  • Maxine Smith STEAM Academy – Shelby County Schools (Memphis, TN)

Kentucky Schools celebrated at a special ceremony at the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers Innovation Summit on June 1, 2017.

  • Trigg County High School—Trigg County Public Schools (Cadiz, KY)
  • Turkey Foot Middle School—Kenton County Schools (Edgewood, KY)

* * * * *

The 2017-2018 MakerMinded competition began in August in Kentucky and Tennessee. In addition, a partnership with Battelle and the Ohio STEM Learning Network, enabled LIFT to launch MakerMinded in Ohio at the same time. You can learn more about it here at

RSVP to join the Manufacturing Day 2017 Open House for the new LIFT and IACMI facility here.

Learn more about Finley the Fabricator — the contest to create a new mascot for the LIFT MakerMinded STEM initiative. Collin Garrison is the young man who built a mascot model from old car parts.

More 3D Printing Jobs Available As Industry Grows

3D printing continues to grow and gain attention in the USA and around the world. It is not only the technology that is catching interest, but the opportunity it presents for students and those wanting to enter a new career.

AM News highlighted some of these trends in our April 2017 post: 3D Printing and Materials Skills In Demand, but we also received an email about an article on 3D Printing Jobs from TEAMM Network member Ed Tackett, who heads the UL Additive Manufacturing Competency Center (AMCC) housed at the University of Louisville campus – both organizations are TEAMM Network members. You can read more about the additive manufacturing training work that Ed and his team are leading. Thanks for sharing the article with us, Ed.

The article “Hot 3D Printing Jobs on the Rise” (link below) from Business News Daily starts out with stats on just how big the industry is expected to be: approaching $33 billion by 2023. Here’s the important part from the article for all those involved in training AM technicians for the future: “With that growth comes money and demand for talented people to control these sophisticated devices.”

The in-depth article points out the following nine areas that will see new jobs created or a peripheral boost from 3D printing (meaning we’ll need more people to teach 3D printing, for example from #5, within educational institutions; imagine that). We also know, for #5, that 3D is being incorporated into existing educational programs and current teachers are learning the skills need to increase technician training. While we are certain that TEAMM Network members could add a host of other opportunities to this list, it is a positive trend to see business media covering the topic.

  1. 3D design and CAD modeling
  2. Research and development (The article points out that R&D professionals may be some of the people who spot opportunities early due to their work with advanced materials.)
  3. Biological and scientific modeling
  4. Architecture/construction modeling
  5. Education
  6. Designers for law firms and legal professionals
  7. Aerospace
  8. On-staff experts
  9. Operations and administrative positions

Resources: Hot 3D Printing Jobs on the Rise by Andreas Rivera on September 14, 2017.

In closing, the future is bright for additive manufacturing. If you have a post or an article you see that ties into our work in technician education, please send it along to Robin Ballard here at TEAMM.

SME Connect Seeks To Connect Professionals and Students With Additive Manufacturing

The Society for Manufacturing Engineers (SME) is well-known as a resource for engineers, students, and those working in manufacturing. It sponsors many industry events and tradeshows, such as RAPID TCT for 3D printing, WESTEC, and many others.

But fewer people are aware of the community forum that it runs, called SME Connect, that is available to members and non-members alike. Non-members cannot post to the forum, but they can view or read various content posted to it. Many SME members post useful information, but also link back to more details on sites outside of SME Connect as well. So it is often possible to keep up with industry information that you might otherwise miss.

NOTE: Of course, as the TEAMM Network is often involved with various SME events, we encourage those new to the industry to consider membership, too, because SME benefits extend far beyond the community forum.

To give you an idea of the range of topics and activity, we ran a few searches sorted on “most recent” on the main SME Connect page:

Materials Science: 181 results with 71 as events – that means that local chapters post news or other relevant information. There are often national competitions or challenges listed for a term. The remaining 110 (in this search total) are often user-generated posts that might be about a particular technology, a new methodology, or material testing process that another engineer or specialist might want to know about. Since the regional WESTEC show is upcoming in September, details and a link are posted on the community forum.

3D Printing: 103 results with 41 events. Again, it gives you an idea of local or regional activity as chapter meetings are often posted.

Additive Manufacturing (yes, it is often considered synonymous with 3D Printing, but some prefer the AM term and it yields far more additional good information): 556 results with 227 of the total as events. The #2 result is the big SME’s Digital Manufacturing Challenge coming up in February 2018; a good post to read if you are a student.

Technician Education: This search is obviously core to the TEAMM Network and is a growing area of interest for students and educators. It has 119 results with 48 as events. In this search, we found an event notice, held at the SME Toronto office, Impressions of RAPID 2017, about the popular RAPID TCT 3D Printing show that took place in Pittsburgh in May of this year. There is also a popular FAQ in this section that explains how to use the Connections community as a member so that you can find other members, post within the forum and create useful discussions, and technical topics such as searching for specific titles or filetypes.

So, if you find yourself needing more technical or specific information around additive manufacturing or materials science, take a look at SME Connect.

One last thing: You do have to register with email and a username/password, but again, the community forum is free to view or read.

TEAMM Network Member Creates Additive Manufacturing Studio

As Additive Manufacturing, aka 3D Printing, gains momentum in various industries, experts predict there will be a shortage of trained workers. According to the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, 9 out of 10 manufacturers are struggling to find the required skilled workers for 3D technologies and other manufacturing skills.

Dr. Ismail Fidan from Tennessee Technological University wants to bridge the 3D printing knowledge gap before it starts with a new “train the trainer” workshop called the Additive Manufacturing Studio aimed at STEM educators. The workshop is part of the National Science Foundation’s Additive Manufacturing Workforce Advancement Training Coalition and Hub (AM-WATCH). It is funded by a grant that brings together the Technician Education in Additive Manufacturing & Materials (TEAMM) housed at Edmonds Community College, Tennessee Tech University, and Sinclair Community College.

From the program overview:

The Studio shares with faculty how to conduct AM courses and corresponding lab experiences and provides an active and cooperative learning environment.  The class has been highly successful on a national level.  Integrate the latest 3D printing technologies into your STEM curriculum.  You’ll build a printer and work on a project in class.  And, as an added incentive, you’ll take that printer back to your institution for use in your own programs!

In July, 15 educators in Washington State attended a workshop at Edmonds CC’s Materials Science lab in Monroe Hall. Most of them were from community or technical colleges, but four high school teachers participated as well. They learned how to build and use 3D printers.

Members of each institution will work together to develop curriculum and educational materials, professional development activities, outreach targeting K-12 teachers and students, and other efforts. TEAMM is housed at Edmonds CC and funded by the NSF Advanced Technological Education directorate.

According to Mel Cossette, TEAMM’s executive director and principal investigator, 3D printing is an emerging technology that will eventually be used in every sector of manufacturing industry, from aerospace to medical.

In addition to the workshop training at Monroe Hall, attendees were able to go on a factory tour of the Fathom 3D Printing Studio in Seattle.

Learn more about Summer 2018 workshops by emailing Robin Ballard at Or you can keep tabs on the TTU AM-WATCH website.

VR Lab at The FACILITY Makerspace at Edmonds Community College

Edmonds Community College is known for its work in training technicians in additive manufacturing and materials science. Now they are adding a project to an existing on-campus makerspace that will expand its value to students and the community: A Virtual Reality (VR) Lab.

Many colleges and universities around the nation and the world have makerspaces, but most are available only to students. Edmonds Community College takes a wider view and started THE FACILITY as a community-based makerspace in addition to student access.

According to the website: “The FACILITY is housed in Monroe Hall, (an 11,000 square foot building with state-of-the-art equipment) to the local community and provides a collaborative space where ordinary people with extraordinary ideas can come together and gain access to the tools, training, and community you need to turn your thoughts into things.

“The FACILITY is based on a DIY philosophy and the launch of our Rapid Proto Lab gives you hands on access to the most essential, exciting, and versatile Makerspace equipment: a Laser Cutter, 3D Printers, a CNC Router, and 3D Scanners. This is a game changing opportunity for Makers of all kinds: artists, inventors, entrepreneurs, students, educators, hobbyists, side-giggers, and world changers.”

Now, thanks to collaboration in another National Science Foundation grant (the college is already known for its national Materials Science education website known as MatEdU), and in partnership with Purdue University, “the college is working on developing an innovative multi-modal VR framework for Digital Manufacturing instruction. One of the priorities is to establish a VR Immersion Lab that can provide design and development opportunities to the local community, and collaboration with other makerspaces, as part of The FACILITY,” David Voetmann, director of The FACILITY, said.

Stay tuned for more immersive experiences and news.