Fun


On this part of the blog PADT will be sharing “information” that may not have a lot of real value, but that we enjoy.  Look for links to things of high nerd value, a few jokes, silly pictures, and whatever else we feel might make you smile. There is a strict ban on LOL Cats, unless there is an engineering tie in.


Christmas Left-Right Gift Exchange Story: Western

Posted on January 6, 2017, by: Eric Miller

For our Christmas parties at PADT we generally have over 40 employees so a traditional secret Santa gift exchange takes to long. So a couple of years ago we downloaded a right-left gift exchange story from the internet and it was a big hit. We ran out of stories on the internet, so we started writing our own, usually in some sort of over-the-top style.  This year, 2016, many of us had become addicted to West World, so a good old fashioned Western seemed appropriate. Everyone gets their gift and forms a big circle in the middle of the room.  Someone with a strong voice reads the story and every time the world LEFT is read, everyone passes the package they have to the left. Every time the world RIGHT is read, everyone passes the package they have to their right.  You should pause a bit at each LEFT/RIGHT to give people a chance to pass. You can find our older stories here - Star Wars Christmas (2015) - Fairy Tail Christmas (2014) - Science Fiction Christmas (2013) - Romance Christmas (2012) - Film Noir Christmas (2011)

Trixie and the Christmas Miracle

A train whistle echoed in the distance as US Marshal Dilan McRightland brought his horse Righty to a stop on the left side of the ridge. Down below, right in the middle of the valley was his destination, the place he had been headed right towards for three weeks. Wrightville Gulch. He’d seen a lot of dusty towns, not much more than a few buildings on the right and left side of a crooked street. Left to his own devices he would have left his job and gone right back to his family farm on left bank of Ohio river, right below Louisville Kentucky. But he had sworn an oath to uphold justice, to make sure that wrongs were righted, and that no criminal was left free to cause more harm. It was the right thing to do. He dug his heals into Righty and they headed right down the trial, towards an encounter that would have been best left alone. As he entered the town from the… south, he surveyed both sides of the street. On the right was a bank, livery stable, and what looked like a hotel that may not be where the ‘right type of people’ stay. The other side of the street held a saloon, blacksmith, general store, and a Chinese restaurant: Right and Wrong Noodles. Dilan assumed that the fugitive he was seeking was in the saloon. So he tied up Righty, using a left hitch not, and went right in the swinging doors. It took a while for his eyesight to adjust to the dim interior. A long mahogany bar filled the wall. On the… other side, there was a stair case that led to rooms on the second floor. Right in the middle of the room stood a giant Christmas tree. That was right, Dilan thought, today was Christmas Eve. It has been a long time since he had enjoyed a right proper Christmas. He began to day dream about snowy Christmas mornings when a shout brought him right back to reality. “Hey! You looking for me, stranger?” A man dressed in head to toe in black leather stood on the left side of the Christmas tree. “If you are Lefty Peterson, then yes.” Replied Dilan. “I’m US Marshal Dilan McRightland and I’ve traveled all the way to Wrightville Gulch, right here in the middle of no-where, to bring you to justice.” The two men stared at each other across the room, their right hands hovering over their six shooters, which for now were left in their holsters. “I don’t think you have it right, Marshal. When I left the Stanton brothers for dead, right in the middle of Dodge City, I left that life behind me. I’m clean now, I’ve got a wife and kids. I started over. You know what I did was right, they deserved to die. So the right thing for you to do is get back on your horse and get right out of town.” This left Marshall Dilan a bit baffled. What if Lefty was right? And then he stood up straight and looked Lefty in the eye. “The law is the law lefty, doesn’t matter if you think what you did was right, it is up to a jury to decide that.” Lefty looked right back, and snarled “The only way you are taking me back is as a corpse. If you don’t leave in a coffin yourself. Their right hands slowly moved to their guns. Just when they were about to draw a girl dressed like a dancer the left bank of the Sein in Paris, dashed right between them. “Stop right now!” she shouted. “Gosh Nabit! It’s Christmas Eve. Have you any heart left, either of you?” She turned to Lefty “Lefty, darling, you don’t have to die. If you think what you did was… justified, go with the marshal, argue your case.” She spun to face Marshall McRightland “And you, you come riding in here on Christmas ever, where we was having ourselves a right nice party, and you threaten our friend Lefty, that just aint right either!” Dilan stood. He could see the star on his chest reflected in the mirror behind the bar, and he could see the star right on top of the tree. And he looked right at the dancing girl, a small tear falling from her right eye. “Lefty” he said “you agree to let me handcuff you to that bar there, and we can have ourselves a right proper Christmas ever and morning. And then we ride out of here and you get your day in court. Does that sound…. All right?” Lefty thought for a minute, then responded “I right reckon that is the right thing to do. Right here and right now on Christmas eve, maybe some peace on earth is what we need.” And so on that Christmas Eve in a dusty town right in the middle of no-where, a little Christmas spirit, and a fiery dancing girl named… Trixie, brought a little peace on earth and goodwill towards men to a place called Wrightville Gulch.

Metal 3D Printing a Shift Knob

Posted on December 8, 2016, by: Nathan Huber

I have always had an issue with leaving well enough alone since the day I bought my Subaru. I have altered everything from the crank pulley to the exhaust, the wheels and tires to the steering wheel. I've even 3D printed parts for my roof rack to increase its functionality. One of the things that I have altered multiple times has been the shift knob. It's something that I use every time and all the time when I am driving my car, as it is equipped with a good ol' manual transmission, a feature that is unfortunately lost on most cars in this day and age. prevknobs I have had plastic shift knobs, a solid steel spherical shift knob, a black shift knob, a white shift knob, and of course some weird factory equipment shift knob that came with the car. What I have yet to have is a 3D printed shift knob. For this project, not any old plastic will do, so with the help of Concept Laser, I'm going straight for some glorious Remanium Star CL! One of the great things about metal 3D printing is that during the design process, I was not bound by the traditional need for a staple of design engineering, Design For Manufacturing (DFM). The metal 3D printer uses a powder bed which is drawn over the build plate and then locally melted using high-energy fiber lasers. The build plate is then lowered, another layer of powder is drawn across the plate, and melted again. This process continues until the part is complete. The design for the knob was based off my previously owned shift knobs, mainly the 50.8 mm diameter solid steel spherical knob. I then needed to decide how best to include features that would render traditional manufacturing techniques, especially for a one-off part, cost prohibitive, if not impossible.   I used ANSYS Spaceclaim Direct Modeler as my design software, as I have become very familiar with it using it daily for simulation geometry preparation and cleanup, but I digress, my initial concept can be seen below:2016-10-18_16-19-33 I was quickly informed that, while this design was possible, the amount of small features and overhangs would require support structure that would make post-processing the part very tedious. Armed with some additional pointers on creating self supporting parts that are better suited for metal 3D printing, I came up with a new concept. 2016-10-18_16-24-24 This design is much less complex, while still containing features that would be difficult to machine. However, with a material density of 0.0086 g/mm^3, I would be falling just short of total weight of 1 lb, my magic number. But what about really running away from DFM like it was the plague? 2016-10-18_16-23-31 There we go!!! Much better, this design iteration is spec'd to come out at 1.04 lbs, and with that, it was time to let the sparks fly! img_7602 Here it is emerging as the metal powder that has not been melted during the process is brushed away. untitled The competed knob then underwent a bit of post processing and the final result is amazing! I haven't been able to stop sharing images of it with friends and running it around the office to show my co-workers. However, one thing remains to make the knob functional... it must be tapped. img_7762 In order to do this, we need a good way to hold the knob in a vise. Lucky for us here at PADT, we have the ability to quickly design and print these parts. I came up with a design that we made using our PolyJet machine so we could have multiple material durometers in a single part. The part you need below utilizes softer material around the knob to cradle it and distribute the load of the vise onto the spherical lattice surface of the knob. img_7765img_7764 We quickly found out that the Remanium material was not able to be simply tapped. We attempted to bore the hole out in order to be able to press in an insert, and also found out the High Speed Steel (HSS) was not capable of machining the hole. Carbide however does the trick, and we bored the hole out in order to press in a brass insert, which was then tapped. img_7873 Finally, the shift knob is completed and installed!    

First Perfect Pitch Startup Presentation Competition a Success – CEI Takes Home the Unicorn Cup

Posted on October 28, 2016, by: Eric Miller

perfect-pitch-16-all-2The verdict is in, if the company barq! actually existed they would have raised a lot of seed money yesterday.  Members of the Phoenix area startup community gathered at PADT to try out a new idea: what if the experts who mentor and coach startups tried their hands at pitching a company?  The result was fun, funny, and educational. title-slides-perfect-pitch-2017Local incubators/accelerators CEI, Seed Spot, and Tallwave joined PADT in pitching a totally made up company, barqk! to a group of judges who are startup experts.  We talked about poop, doggy depression, bessel functions, big data, valuations, and the cat revolt. In the end we ended up with four fantastic examples of how to pitch a company and how to answer questions from investors.  One of the best parts was that every single team finished their pitch in the 10 minutes they were given, and they covered everything that needed to be covered. Yes, it can be done! And the winner is... The Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation (CEI).  Tom Schumann and Patti DuBois told a story, explained the product, and got across the value to the investors of the product .  perfect-pitch-16-winners-text You can watch the recording of the presentations in the video below.  Take some time to watch the pitches and get a feel for barqk!, and how different organizations approach telling the story and more importantly, attracting investors.  The audience noticed that each team had a unique take that represented their strengths. https://youtu.be/dtNUkraKhqo Our judges were Jim Goulka from Arizona Technology Investors, Christie Kerner from ASU, Carine Dieude of Altima Business Solutions, and Linda Capcara with TechTHiNQ, and they did a fantastic job, especially with keeping a straight face when the contestants responded with some very inventive responses. Their contribution was important. If you are interested in doing a similar event, here is some background information: barqk-logo-200-1Rules:
  • Each team gets a copy of the angel group funding application and a logo.
  • Each team gets 10 minutes to pitch
  • The judges have up to 5 minutes to ask questions
  • The other presenters can listen in
  • PowerPoint slides are allowed
  • Some variation from the company application is allowed for humor or to fill gaps, but everyone should stick to the same basic material
Here is their angel funding application, everything you need to know about them is in there: barqk-angel-application-1.pdf We look forward to doing this again, hopefully as part of a larger startup event. Thank you to all who participated by pitching, judging, or being in the audience.
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Who will win the Unicorn Cup next?

Engineering a Better Pokemon Go Experience

Posted on August 11, 2016, by: Nathan Huber

padt-pikachu-1The other day, I saw a post on Engadget about a special case for Pokemon Go users to solve the problem of missing your prized Jigglypuff that you have happened across in the wild (or let’s face it, probably a CP 10 Rattata who is going to break out multiple times before disappearing in a puff of smoke…). The case is designed to give the user access to on screen controls and a nice channel to keep your Pokeball flinging finger straight and true.
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Original Device designed by Jon Clever

As pointed out in the article on Engadget, this case is only useful in the capture screen. This caveat aside, the other issue with the case is that it obscures the screen. Here at PADT, we are fortunate to sell a wide variety of 3D Printing machines, some of which are capable of multiple colors and material durometers. I decided to design my own take on the case from Jon Clever to be prototyped on our Stratasys Connex 3. Pokemon Go Photo 1 Pokemon Go Photo 2 The case was made with black and clear material. The black material can be combined to produce a custom stiffness, so we made that part soft and rubber like and kept the clear portion rigid. The clear has good optical quality, which could be increased with a layer of "clearcoat." Pokemon Go Photo 3 If you have a Stratasys Connex 3 or J750 and an iPhone 6, you can make your own with these STL files, one for the rubber part and one for the clear part. Iphone 6 Pokemon_Prod_R1-CLEAR Iphone 6 Pokemon_Prod_R19895   Pokemon Go stl 1 Other variations and additional possibilities would be made possible with the new Stratasys J750, the first true full color printer that can also mix clear and solid as well as hard and soft materials.  The J750 was just released and highlighted on our recent road show. Visit our blog article on the Scottsdale show to learn more about this incredible printer. Additional information about PADT and our wide range of 3D Printing offerings here.

Sometimes it is only about speed! Team building at the Kart track

Posted on June 15, 2016, by: Eric Miller

SIMSAL-2016_06_14-Racing-3Every once in the while you need to get out of the office and run your co-workers off a track. For whatever reason, when members of our Sales and Support department put on some helmets and strapped themselves in to electric racing karts, they got very competitive. The people who sell and support 3D Printers and Simulation software left their Stratasys and ANSYS brochures at home and headed to the Octane Raceway in Scottsdale, AZ for some fun and decompression. They have been working hard all year making customers happy, and they needed a way unwind.  So the drove in circles. Fun was had by all. Only a few curse words were exchanged. Mario was asked to get a more subtle shirt. The only disappointment is that the winner of the event was Oren Raz... most of us back at the office were pulling for Clinton Smith to take the trophy. SIMSAL-2016_06_14-Racing-1

Fund a Great Idea: ReadyXO Crayon Box on KickStarter

Posted on June 2, 2016, by: Eric Miller

readyXO-box1 As a parent I know that crayon management has always been a problem in our family, especially when we travel. We could have used the ReadyXO - a simple container that cleverly uses the lid to provide stability so it doesn't tip over.  Now is your chance to control your crayons and help fund a great entrepreneur, and PADT customer, through KickStarter. This is a great idea, a simple solution, by an individual entrepreneur who applied good problem solving and engineering to develop a solution to something that most of us have dealt with when we were kids or as parents. Check out the details at:

              www.kickstarter.com/projects/996897358/readyxo-crayon-box 

Scroll down and read "The Story." If you didn't want to get one out of simple necessity, when you hear about the inventor's journey you will want to back this enterprise immediately. readyXO-box4  readyXO-box3 One of the best parts of working at PADT is helping our customers make their ideas work. From a new valve actuator on the International Space Station to clever gadgets.  Sometimes we see some great ideas from individual inventors that solve a day-to-day problem with a simple and elegant solution and get to help out just a little on their journey.  This is a fantastic example of that. Help us help them by pre-ordering your ReadyXO Crayon Box on KickStarter and spread the word through social media.

Money Radio: Business for Breakfast Interviews PADT’s Eric Miller

Posted on May 23, 2016, by: Eric Miller

money_radioKen Morgan and Mark Asher of Money Radio interviewed PADT's Eric Miller to learn more about what we do here and how "We Make Innovation Work" as part of the Business Leader Spotlight. Listen to the interview here:  

Spinning Gears: 3D Printing Awards for 2016 AZ SciTech Festival Sponsors

Posted on May 23, 2016, by: Eric Miller

SciTech-Festival-Award-2016-2For several years now PADT has 3D Printed special thank you awards for the fantastic companies that sponsor the Arizona SciTech Festival.  This year we decided to stick with the color of the Stratasys Connex3 but add some moving parts. This gear design spins around and was made as one part, we just wash the support material out of the gaps between parts. This is a great example of going directly from a CAD model to a custom part.  Each award has the recipient's name printed on the smaller gear.  Everything was designed in an hour or so and it took about another hour to add in the 30 or so names.  We think these may be the best awards we have made so far. SciTech-Festival-Award-2016-1 SciTech-Festival-Award-2016-3 Here is a video showing off how they spin: Awards are kind of simple and fun. But the same technology is applied by PADT to help our customers design and build better medical devices, rockets, aircraft engines, computers, and pretty much any physical product you can think of.  Give us a call at 1-800-293-PADT or email info@padtinc.com to see how "We Make Innovation Work"

Phoenix Business Journal: 5 reasons why nerds celebrate Pi Day

Posted on March 14, 2016, by: Eric Miller

pbj-phoenix-business-journal-logo Have you heard? It’s Pi Day! This post, "5 reasons why nerds celebrate Pi Day" shares the reasons why those of us in the know like Pi day so much. pie-pi

Kids, Pizza, Engineering – A Fantastic SciTech Festival Open House at PADT

Posted on February 25, 2016, by: Eric Miller

ScitechFestivalLogoWe thought we would open PADT's doors to families and maybe a few people would stop by. Over 250 people did just that.  What a great evening of smiling kids and adults enjoying the excitement of engineering.  Exciting engineering? Yes, we know enough to not talk about quality system protocols, matrix inversions, and non-linear turbulence model convergence. We stuck to 3D Printing, elephants on skateboards, and 3D scanners. And we fed everyone pizza. FullSizeRenderIt was a great evening where everyone learned something.  The focus was on exposing what engineers do, what PADT does, to people who may not be technical. Mostly kids but we also saw it as a way for engineers to show their family members and friends what engineering is about.  The results far exceeded our expectation, mostly because of how great everyone who showed up was. Some of the quotes from people who have emailed to thank us are:

"Thank you for opening up your office to me.  What a cool place!  Even though I have been familiar with and worked with 3D printing for 20+ years, it is always nice to see the new technology, products, and the output of the products. "

"... to see my son and all of the other kids so excited and amazed was truly awesome. Mason told me it was the best night of his life! And this morning his first words to me where thanking me for taking him to the event and when can we go back."

"This is such a great opportunity for me to show my grandkids what I spent my life doing, and seeing them get so excited about it is wonderful”  

The best part of the event for most of us here at PADT were the fantastic questions.  As one of our engineers said "for 2 hours I was just lost in the joy of positive human interaction."  We do love what we do here, but it was nice to share it with other people. Below are some pictures from the evening.  Make sure you sign up for PADT's email list to get invites to future events.
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We were pleased to be named a AZ SciTech Festival Signature Event

 
At several points in the evening, the line was headed out the door.

At several points in the evening, the line was headed out the door.

 
The Demo room was full of 3D Printers and the kids loved handling the parts.

The Demo room was full of 3D Printers and the kids loved handling the parts.

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Our office robot was a huge hit.

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The seminar room was turned into a hands-on lab for everyone to touch and feel the engineering tools we use.

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Some of the youngest attendees were able to give ANSYS AIM a literal spin and model the effect of a kid, a dad, and an elephant standing on a skateboard.

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Some people just took to a given tool, even advanced simulation.

Students with exposure to engineering were able to ask our experts in-depth questions about technologies.

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The haptic device was a huge hit. It give real feedback as you edit and probe an object on the computer. Needless to say, kids adapted to it far faster than the adults.

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Engineering students were able to dive deep into the mechanics behind 3D Printing as well as its real world applications in industry.

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This is Ovid. He is PADT's new mascot. We hope to use him more in the future to help explain what we do here.

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This station shows how 3D Printing works, by stacking layers of material. Ovid doesn't look as good in low resolution.

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Scanning was a great way for everyone to see how we inspect and reverse engineer objects.

Bring the kids for an evening of STEM fun at PADT’s AZ SciTech Festival Open House

Posted on February 11, 2016, by: Kathryn Pesta

Scitech Logo PADT is excited to open our doors to the community and show you and your families what engineering is all about.  Bring the family down for a tour of PADT’s Tempe office and we will show them why engineering rocks. This family friendly event is a great way for kids to see what engineers really do all day.  Tour our 3D printing lab and check out how “We Make Innovation Work”.          Register Here
WHEN: Wednesday, February 24th from 6:00pm to 7:30pm
WHERE: PADT Headquarters
  7755 S. Research Drive, Suite 110
  Tempe, AZ 85284
The Arizona SciTech Festival is a state-wide celebration of science, technology, engineering and math held annually in February and March.  Through a series of over 1,000 expos, workshops, conversations, exhibitions and tours held in diverse neighborhoods throughout the state, the Arizona SciTech Festival excites and informs Arizonans from ages 3 to 103 about how STEM will drive our state for next 100 years. Spearheaded by the Arizona Commerce Authority, Arizona Science Center, the Arizona Technology Council Foundation, Arizona Board of Regents, the University of Arizona and Arizona State University, the Arizona SciTech Festival is a grass roots collaboration of over 700 organizations in industry, academia, arts, civic, community and K-12.

Additive Manufacturing – Back to the Future!

Posted on January 28, 2016, by: Dhruv Bhate, PhD

Paul Nigh's 'TeamTimeCar.com' Back to the Future DeLorean Time Machine

Production of Back to the Future began in 1984 - it was recently announced that the DeLorean is to go back in production with new cars rolling out in 2017

Most histories of Additive Manufacturing (3D printing) trace the origins of the technology back to Charles Hull's 1984 patent, the same year production began on the first of the Back to the Future movies. Which is something of a shock when you see 3D printing dotting the Gartner Hype Cycle like it was invented in the post-Seinfeld era. But that is not what this post is about. When I started working on Additive Manufacturing (AM), I was amazed at the number of times I was returning to text books and class notes I had used in graduate school a decade ago. This led me to reflect on how AM is helping bring back to the forefront disciplines that had somehow lost their cool factor - either by becoming part of the old normal, or because they contained ideas that were ahead of their time. I present three such areas of research that I state, with only some exaggeration, were waiting for AM to come along.
  • Topology Optimization: I remember many a design class where we would discuss topology optimization, look at fancy designs and end with a conversation that involved one of the more cynical students asking "All that's fine, but how are you going to make that?". Cue the elegant idea of building up a structure layer-by layer. AM is making it possible to manufacture parts with geometries that look like they came right out of a stress contour plot. And firms such as ANSYS, Autodesk and Altair, as well as universities and labs are all working to improve their capabilities at the intersection of topology optimization and additive manufacturing.
Topology optimization applied to the design of an automobile upper control-arm done with GENESIS Topology for ANSYS Mechanical (GTAM) from Vanderplaats Research & Development and ANSYS SpaceClaim

Topology optimization applied to the design of an automobile upper control-arm done with GENESIS Topology for ANSYS Mechanical (GTAM) from Vanderplaats Research & Development and ANSYS SpaceClaim

And we printed that!

And we printed that!

  • Lattice Structures: One of the first books I came across when I joined PADT was a copy of Cellular Solids by Lorna Gibson and M.F. Ashby. Prof. Gibson's examples of these structures as they occur in nature demonstrate how they provide an economy of material usage for the task at hand. Traditionally, in engineering structures, cellular designs are limited to foams or consistent shapes like sandwich panels where the variation in cell geometry is limited - this is because manufacturing techniques do not normally lend themselves well to building complex, three dimensional structures like those found in nature. With AM technologies however, cell sizes and structures can be varied and densities modified depending on the design of the structure and the imposed loading conditions, making this an exciting area of research.
    Lattice specimens made with the Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) process

    Lattice specimens made with the Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) process

  • Metallurgy: As I read the preface to my "Metallurgy for the Non-Metallurgist" text book, I was surprised to note the author openly bemoan the decline of interest in metallurgy, and subsequently, fewer metallurgists in the field. And I guess it makes sense: materials science is today mostly concerned with much smaller scales than the classical metallurgist trained in. Well, lovers of columnar grain growth and precipitation hardening can now rejoice - metallurgy is at the very heart of AM technology today - most of the projected growth in AM is in metals. The science of powder metallurgy and the microstructure-property-process relationships of the metal AM technologies are vital building blocks to our understanding of metal 3D printing. Luckily for me, I happen to possess a book on powder metallurgy. And it too, is from 1984.
This book was printed in 1984, and is very relevant today

Published 1984

And the Best Conference Award Goes To …..

Posted on January 26, 2016, by: Kathryn Pesta

AADM Expo At PADT, we’re as big of a fan as anyone of the cool, trendy software and IT companies that run up billion dollar valuations in Silicon Valley and keep us all entertained and productive with their latest apps and platforms. But as an engineering product and services company, we’re hardware geeks at heart and one of our favorite conferences is coming up quick. It’s the Aerospace, Aviation, Defense and Manufacturing (AADM) Conference hosted by the Arizona Technology Council and Arizona Commerce Authority on March 3 at the Hilton Scottsdale Resort. Arizona has a rich history in this sector. TechAmerica's 2014 Cyberstates Report ranks Arizona fourth nationwide for jobs in the space and defense systems manufacturing industry, employing more than 8,300 people.  Industry giants such as Raytheon, Honeywell, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics all have a big presence here. Luke Air Force Base, Fort Huachuca and the Yuma Proving Ground all provide ideal places for testing and flying in our cloudless skies and more than 300 days of sunshine. When you look at manufacturing, you’ll find thousands of varied companies located here that are propelling Arizona’s economy into the next era of growth. Industries leaders such as Intel, Microchip, and Frito Lay all have significant Arizona operations. Now in its fifth year, this conference has become the gathering place for Arizona’s AADM industry. You’ll not only have a chance to hear what the big companies are up to, you’ll meet potential suppliers and customers during the interesting presentations and well-attended cocktail reception. And for as little as $750 you can get a booth space and two conference tickets – that’s a deal you won’t find in New York City! The traffic at our booth always keeps us hopping and give us the opportunity to capture great leads. If you haven’t checked it out yet, get on it, check out the sponsorships and  register now. And don’t forget to stop by the PADT booth. We’ll show you how we make innovation work!

Christmas Left-Right Gift Exchange Story: Star Wars Adventure

Posted on December 30, 2015, by: Eric Miller

For our Christmas parties at PADT we generally have over 40 employees so a traditional secret Santa gift exchange takes to long. So a couple of years ago we downloaded a right-left gift exchange story from the internet and it was a big hit. We ran out of stories on the internet, so we started writing our own, usually in some sort of over-the-top style.  This year, 2015, we had started the day of the party by attending the new Star Wars movie, so the story had to be Star Wars related. Everyone gets their gift and forms a big circle in the middle of the room.  Someone with a strong voice reads the story and every time the world LEFT is read, everyone passes the package they have to the left. Every time the world RIGHT is read, everyone passes the package they have to their right.  You should pause a bit at each LEFT/RIGHT to give people a chance to pass. You can find our older stories here - Fairy Tail Christmas (2014) - Science Fiction Christmas (2013) - Romance Christmas (2012) - Film Noir Christmas (2011)

A long time ago in a galaxy far far, away...

San To Claas is in trouble. Right next to the Right-torna system on the left side of the Galaxy, the planet Northpoliax, in a left hand orbit around the star Leftonia 37, was the galactic hub for all thing Christmas. Gifts left the system right after the planet’s winter solstice. But nothing left on this orbit. Because right above the largest continent on Northpoliax, a Death Star hovered. Threatening Christmas for everyone, no one was left out. A new Sith lord, Darth Rightis, hated Christmas. All that cheer and spirit left him cold inside. Two much of the light side of the force. Just the thought of all those gifts left for younglings left him angry. But help was right around the corner. A squadron of Xwing fighters was following right behind the Millennium Falcon. "Arffhhhhdghgg " said Chewy. “What? The moon on the left or the one on the right?” Asked Han Solo. Chewy gestured and Hans went to the left. "Your other left" yelled Princess Leia. Han dived right behind the moon on the left and slingshoted right toward the Death Star, the Xwings right behind them. The lead pilot said: “Red leader this is blue leader. You take the left side. We will take the left as well, right after you attack, those bastards won’t expect that.” “Right” Responded blue leader. Han added: “We will soften up that left side for you. Then let loose the "big present" after both your attacks on the left. The warhead should go right in and end this madness. “ As they approached the Millennium Falcon put covering fire to the right, then veered to the right, leaving the left open. The Xwings attacked, diving right into the slot and trying not to hit either side, the left or the right. The first attack on the left left the defenses damaged. The second attack on the left was right on target. That left the run of the Millennium Falcon. It released a plasma bomb that was wrapped in a big red package, with a bow right on top. As Han pulled up and to the left, and then the right, the warhead exploded right on inside of the main power coupler. Chewy, sitting in the right seat, bellowed in victory as the Death Star exploded right under them. As the debris clears a hologram image appeared right in the middle of the cabin. It showed Admiral San To Clause, wearing his red uniform with white fur epilets on the right and left shoulders. "Thank you all for coming right when we needed you. Right now, Christmas is saved and the dark side is left with one less Sith Lord. May the force, be right with you. And Merrrrrry Christmas to all!

Arizona Chief Science Officers Design Their Own 3D Printed Name Badges

Posted on December 22, 2015, by: Eric Miller

az-scitech-cso-badges-3d-printed-0The Chief Science Officer program is a program for 6th-12th grade students to represent their school in STEM. And what better way is there for them to identify themselves then with 3D Printed name badges?  The program's sponsors, the AZ SciTech Festival offer a training retreat for the kids who get elected as their school's CSO and we all thought introducing design and 3D Printing would be a great activity. As part of the 2015 Fall CSO Institute, PADT's Jeff Nichols joined local designer and artist John Drury to spend some time with the kids explaining how to work with logos and shapes to convey an idea, and how to design for 3D Printing.  The kids worked out their own design and sent it to PADT for printing. We converted their sketch into a 3D Model, starting in Adobe Illustrator. The sketch was traced with vector geometry and then a generic name was added. This was then copied 144 times and each name was typed in, with a few extras. This step was the only boring part. az-scitech-cso-badges-3d-printed-6 The design worked great because it is a simple extrusion with no need for support material.    The outline of their names were exported as DXF from Illustrator and then imported onto the 3D Model and extruded up to make a solid model of a badge. This was then copied to make a badge for each student. Then the names were imported and extruded on the patterned badges.
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The was a simple extrusion for each feature, allowing for contrast and readability but keeping things simple.

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This project was a great opportunity to use both patterns and importing 2D drawings. By laying everything out in a grid, we only had to make one badge and copy that. Then import the names and extrude those on the patterned badges.

STL files were then made and sent off to one of our Stratasys FDM 3D Printers. The FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) process extrudes an ABS plastic filament, and you can change material during the build. So, to add a bit of contrast, we changed the filament color after the base of the design was done, making the logo and student names stand out.  The final results came out really nice.
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This is what they look like right out of the machine. We swapped out two color for each build. With some clever packing, we were able to get 12 badges on each platform.

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The final products really stand out.

az-scitech-cso-badges-3d-printed-3 This project was a lot of fun because we were able to work with the students. They got what John and Jeff taught them and did a great job.  We know they will be placed with pride on back backs and jackets across Arizona. To learn more about the CSO program, visit their website: http://chiefscienceofficers.org/ Check out the blog.  Some of these kids can really write well and their insight into Science, Technology, Math, and Education is insightful.