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challenging design problems while maximizing budget—i.e., printing time and material usage—apply. On day three of the contest, the students had to present all of their hard work to a panel of industry professionals, who served as judges for the competition. Once they left the con- test space after their presentations, it was clear they had fun and learned new 3D printing skills, including having a better understanding of how this process is used in today’s work environment. Since the contest’s inception, students have demonstrated an impressive understanding not only of Stratasys 3D printing technology, but also how to leverage the technology to maximize their design capabilities.


In addition to the design challenge, contestants had a chance to take the SME Additive Manufactur- ing Fundamentals Certifi cation Exam to test their knowledge. Taking this exam was a great opportunity for students to achieve the fi rst step of stackable cre- dentials. The new Additive Manufacturing Fundamen- tals Certifi cation program is ideal for individuals who want to enter the manufacturing industry, or for those already employed as AM technicians who want to advance their career. High School CTE programs, community colleges, work- force boards and companies can all benefi t from the assessment of the individuals going through their training programs. For the student population, this certifi cation provides an industry creden- tial that can differentiate them in the workforce. SME also brought the Rippl3d Rocket Challenge to SkillsUSA


to introduce many more students to the world of 3D printing technology and design through a fun, hands-on activity. As part of the rocket challenge, participants designed a rocket from 3D- printed parts using alternative tail fi ns, nose cone weight, launch angle and launch pressure to shoot a rocket into a target. Of the nearly 500 rockets launched, only 28 hit the bullseye, and seven of those rockets got a perfect score, meaning they were able to hit the bullseye four times in a row. After a demanding three-day contest, we met with the students and their advisors to discuss their experience as


Meghan Shea-Keenan is the workforce development program analyst for SME and technical chair for the SkillsUSA Additive Manufacturing Contest.


participants in the contest. What we learned is that the pas- sion for this technology is palpable. Their collective excitement makes it evident that as long as we continue to help students develop their talents, we will produce innovative thinkers who can move this industry forward.


James Bruce (left) and Mattias Anderson from Butte College (in white shirts) test their fi nal design for judges Jesse Roitenberg, Stratasys (left), and Bill Macy, Macy Consulting Inc.


We hope that, by supporting activities like the SkillsUSA Additive Manufacturing Competition, we will be able to spark further interest and passion in future manufacturers, design- ers and engineers. Winners of this year’s SkillsUSA Additive Manufactur- ing Competition received prizes including scholarships from the SME Education Foundation, MakerBot Mini 3D printers, 3DConnexion SpacePilot Pro 3D Mice, Tooling U-SME reg- istration, RAPID+TCT Conference passes, SolidWorks CAD software, and SME membership. As preparations begin for the 2018 SkillsUSA Additive Manufacturing contest, offi cials refl ect on the knowledge and creativity shown by students each year. It will be exciting to see how students participating in next year’s contest tackle yet another new challenge!


Congratulations to our gold medal winners of the 2017 SkillsUSA Additive Manufacturing Contest!


Angela Marini is a Marketing Specialist at Stratasys and is on the technical committee for the SkillsUSA Additive Manufacturing Contest.


August 2017 | AdvancedManufacturing.org 95


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