Mars, Hearts, Spaceships, and Universities: 2019 Colorado Additive Manufacturing Day a Success

Engineers, educators, and enthusiasts gathered on the green lawn of beside the Platte River at the Blind Faith Brewing to talk about Additive Manufacturing. Over 170 attendees (and two dogs) met each other, caught up with old colleagues, and shared their AM journey during the breaks and listened to 13 presenters and panelists. 12 antipasto platters and 30 pizzas were consumed, and 298 beers or sodas were imbibed. By the numbers and by type of interaction we saw, a successful event all around.

This was the fourth annual gathering, hosted by PADT and sponsored by our partners at this brewery. We could not have put this event on without the support of Stratasys, ANSYS, ZEISS, and Desktop Metal. We also want to thank our promotional partners, Women in 3D Printing and Space for Humanity who both brought new people to our community. Carbon, Visser and a student project with Ball Aerospace did their part as exhibitors.

Check out the Slideshow at the end of this post to get a visual snapshot of the day.

We want to thank the true stars of our event, the speakers and panelists who shared their knowledge and experience that turned a great gathering into a learning experience.

We started the morning off with an inspirational keynote from Dr. Robert Zubrin. A visionary in the space community and long term champion of going to Mars, Dr. Zubrin shared with us his observations about the new space race with his talk: “The Case for Space: How the Revolution in Spaceflight Opens Up a Future of Limitless Possibilities.” He left the packed audience energized and ready to do our part in this next step in humanities exploration of the universe. He stayed after to talk with people and sign copies of his book, which you can find here.

We then heard from user David Waller of Ball Aerospace on his experience with their Desktop Metal system. He went over the testing, lessons learned, and usage of their Studio system. It was a great in-depth look at someone implementing a new technology. There is a lot of interest around this lower-cost approach to producing metal parts, and the audience was full of questions.

Sticking with the Desktop Metal technology, PADT’s very own Pamela Waterman talked about how PADT is using our in-house Zeiss Optical Scanning hardware and software to inspect the parts we are making with our Desktop Metal System. She shared what we have learned about following the design guidelines that are developing for this technology and how scanning is a fast and accurate way to determine the final geometry created in the three-step process of building a green part, debinding, and sintering.

Next up was Christopher Robinson form ANSYS, Inc. to talk about recent additions to the ANSYS Additive products. He shared how customers are using simulation to design parts for metal powder bed fusion AM and then model the build process to predict and avoid failures as well as compensate for the distortion inherent in the process. The key takeaway was that simulation is the solution for getting parts built right the first time.

After a short break, and some AM trivia that won some PADT25 T-Shirts for people who knew the history of 3D Printing, we heard all about the new V650 Flex Stereolithography system that Stratasys recently introduced. Yes, Stratasys now makes and sells an SL system and it is literally a dream machine designed by people with decades of AM and Stereolithography experience. Learn more about this open and powerful system here.

Another AM technology was up next when Nick Jacobson spoke about Voxel Printing with PolyJet technologies. He discussed how he varies materials and colors spacially to create unique and realistic replicas for medicine and engineering. He also showed how the voxel-based geometry he creates can be used to create Virtual Reality representations of objects. Much of their work revolves around the visualization of hearts for adults and children to improve surgery planning. While we had been focused on space at the start of the afternoon, he reminded us of the immediate and life saving medical applications of AM.

And then we moved back to space with a presentation from Lockheed Martin‘s Brian Kaplun on how they are using AM to create parts that will fly on the Orion Spacecraft. Making production parts with 3D Printing has been a long-term goal for the whole industry, and Lockheed Martin has done the long and hard work of design, test, and putting processes in place to make this dream a reality. One of the biggest takeaways of his talk was how once the Astronauts saw a few AM parts in the capsule, they started asking of its use to redesign other tools and components. The ultimate end-users, they saw the value of lightweight and strong parts that could be made without the limitations of traditional manufacturing.

We finished up the day, after another break and some more trivia, with a fascinating panel on AM at Colorado’s leading Universities. We were lucky to have Ray Huff from Wohlers Associates moderate a distinguished group of deans, directors, and professors from four outstanding but different institutions:

  • Martin Dunn PhD,  Dean of Engineering, CU Denver
  • Jenifer Blacklock PHD, Mechanical Engineering Professor – Colorado School of Mines
  • David Prawel PhD, Director, Idea-2-Product 3D Printing Lab, Colorado State University 
  • Matt Gordon, PhD,  Chair, Mechanical Engineering, University of Denver 

Their wide-ranging discussion covered their education and research around AM. A common theme was industry cooperation. Each school shared how they use AM to help students not just make things, but also understand how parts are made. The discussion was fantastic and ended far too soon, which is always an indicator of a great group of experts.

And that sums up our great day, leaving out several hundred side conversations that went on. Check out this slide show to get a feel for how energetic and interesting the afternoon was.

As everyone left, some reluctantly and after one more beer, the common comment was that they can’t wait to get together again with everyone. We hope that next year we will have more speakers and participants and continue to support the growth of Additive Manufacturing in Colorado.

A quick note about the location: You are not wrong if you remember a different name for the three previous events. St. Patricks’s is now Blind Faith and the new owners could have not been more welcoming. Plus, they have more Belgian’s, which I am a big fan of.

History for the future: PADT seals time capsule as part of 25th-anniversary celebration

The past is a tricky thing to remember. When we started preparing for PADT’s 25th anniversary celebration we spent a lot of time thinking about the past, about our journey from an idea to the thriving business we are today. And one though kept coming back to us, “we really should have captured and stored more.”

We can’t change that past but we can preserve our history for the future with a Time Capsule. On July 1st of 2019, we took 49 items and crammed them into a sealed box that we embedded into the wall of PADT’s Tempe headquarters.

You can see a list of all the items at the bottom of this post. Some of the highlights are a copy of our different business card designs over the past 25 years, a collection of PADT logo’d shirts, bits and pieces from our SCA product, parts from various fuel cell blowers, samples of 3D Printed parts, and some old manuals. We also included a collection of tech from the past 25 years including four cell phones of various types.

The most interesting object we stored from our perspective was a binder with documents and images from the past 25 years. Here are some of the items in that binder that are interesting today:

A timeline of PADT Business Cards over the past 25 years. We did think they looked cool back then.
We didn’t take any early photos, but we do have pictures of most of our employee for almost every year since 2000.
Our first report to a customer was a stress analysis for a sprinkler valve housing.
Our staff took a look at the way things were in 1994 and in 2019. Technology, politics, entertainment, and news. A great look back at then and now.

It was a lot of fun gathering the items and thinking about the impact they all had on PADT over the years.

All of that stuff we wanted to save is piled on the cart. A lot of memories.

On Monday we crammed it all in and sealed it up. In 25 years, July 1, 2044, PADT employees, customers, and partners of the future will open it up to see what is inside. That is not too far into the future and with luck, many of us will be around to witness it.

PADT’s founders… 25 years older… Eric Miller, Ward Rand, and Rey Chu
Jeff expertly filled the box full
Co-Founder, Rey Chu puts in the first screw.
Ward Rand adds the second fastener.
Eric Miller tightens everything up.

We wonder what they will make of our past, some of which will be fifty years old by then. Will they laugh? Or scratch their head wondering what the heck a cell phone was? We can’t wait to find out.

Sealed and ready for the future

List of Items in PADT’s Time Capsule

1First official printed PADT Brochure
2Business Card designs - 1994 to present
3Service Partnership Guide - 2000 ver. 1
4Employee Handbook 2019
5Business Journal - Issue: March 1, 2019
6Eric's Honeywell Contractor Badge (2000) - Transition period from Allied Signal to Honeywell
7One of the early company polo shirts - Late 1990's
8PADT Baseball Jersey - 2011 Company Photo
92014 PADT 20th Anniversary t-shirt
1025th Anniversary paper "Swag Bag" - Pen (bamboo), Mousepad (retreaded tire), Sticky Pad, Anniversary t-shirt
11PADT Cap - our most popular swag item. Given to customers and employees started placing in photos of their world travels.
12Ruler giveaways - Clear acrylic from Gilbert office days (1990's) / White magnetic 6" from the mid-2010's
13YoYo - PADT's first swag item - distributed at the Ansys Worldwide User Conference
14Brass PADT logo used for Service Awards (mid-2000's)
1515th PADT Anniversary Cup
16PADT flash drive - 8 GB. Given to customers pre-loaded with files and also blank ones included in our New Hire Kit
17SCA 1200 Users Manual - 2012 rev 3
18SCA Pump Assembly
19SCA Impeller
20APDL Guide - written by the Tech Support Team (2nd Edition) 1st Edition was 2010
21Ansys 5.2 Complete Software Package - 1996
22Cathode air blower housing for fuel cell in municipal buses
23Mixed flow impeller for fuel cell in municipal buses
24Radial Impeller - cathode air blower for fuel cell powered aircraft application
25Roots Blower Rotor - cathode air delivery for a fuel cell
26Regenerative flow impeller - Hydrogen Recycle Blower for fuel cell car
27Fuel Cell Test Block circa 2003 while Rob Rowan was at ASM. History Unknown.
28OrthoSensor - knee replacement alignment sensor designed and developed by PADT
29The Spot - personal location and communication device designed by PADT, which talks directly to a satellite. Case Study Included.
30SLS model of Ward Rand's heel. Broken from ladder fall. (2001)
313D Printed Business Card
32FDM part - Roots Blower Housing - designed by Eric Miller. (1999)
33SLA part - Ryobi Weed Wacker spool (1997)
34Protoype Diffuser in a compressor - designed for the Air Force Research Lab
35PolyJet demo part - the introduction of water PolyJet using various materials printed simultaneously
36PolyJet employee name tag printed for 25th Anniversary event
37First 3D Metal printed part. We were the beta test. (2001)
38Pro-Engineer Manual (1997) - PADT's first CAD package
39Event photo posters made to commemorate PADT25 - originals are 24"x36", gallery framed and hung in office
403" Floppy Disk with Honeywell Ansys Thermal Model files (1996)
41CD Rom - Honeywell Impeller Stress & Vibration Analysis (2002)
42Materialise - Early version of software used to send parts to SLA Machine (1999'ish)
43Motorola i530 Nextel Flip Phone - iDEN's original Push-To-Talk walkie, speakerphone, voice dialing (2004)
44PADT's first Smart Phone - Blackberry 71001 / International with internet access (2005)
45Rey's Blackberry Curve 8310 (2007)
46An employee's old iPhone 6 (2014)
47Macintosh IIVX (Photo) - PADT’s original computer. It was used to create early brochures, design the PADT logo, write letters and reports, and ran our first accounting system for many years.
48Binder of documents
49Team Building Event t-shirts - 2014 & 2015

Introducing the Stratasys F120 3D Printer

An industrial 3D printer at a price that brings professional 3D printing to the masses. Introducing the powerfully reliable F120, the newest addition to the Stratasys F123 Series. Stratasys brings their industrial expertise to transform the 3D printing game.

The F120 is everything you have come to expect from Stratasys: Accurate results, user-friendly interface and workflow, and durable 3D printing hardware. Their industrial-grade reliability means there is low maintenance compared to others.

When it comes to touch-time, there is little to no tinkering or adjustment required. The F120 is proven to print for up to 250 hours, uninterrupted with new, large filament boxes, as well as printing 2-3 times faster than competition, making for a fast return on investment.

Worried about lengthy and complicated setup time? Why wait to print – the Stratasys F120 is easy to install and set up, whether you’re new to 3D printing or not. Ease of use comes standard with GrabCAD Print machine control software. Dramatically simplify your workflow and see how the Stratasys F120 sets the standard for ease of use, with no specialized training or dedicated technician required.

The Stratasys F120 outperforms the competition. But don’t just take our word for it. Over 1000 hours were spent independently testing a number of key build attributes, including feature reproduction, part sturdiness and surface quality. The Stratasys F123 Series and its engineering-grade materials came out on top.

When considering purchasing a printer; time-to-part, failed print jobs, downtime, repairs, and schedule delays all should be accounted for.

The Stratasys F120 has all the features and benefits of their larger industrial-grade 3D printers, along with the superior speed, reliability, minimal touch-time, and affordable purchase price, giving you the best cost-per-part performance. Print complex designs with confidence thanks to soluble support, and enjoy unrivaled ease of use and accuracy with every print.

Don’t waste time and resources on tools that aren’t up to the task. Enhance your productivity. Make it right the first time with the F120.

Want to learn more about this exciting new tabletop printer that’s blowing away the competition?

Contact the industry experts at PADT via the link below: