An SME-designed Additive Manufacturing Contest was a key component of the 51st annual Skills USA National Leadership and Skills Conference, held this summer in Louisville, Kentucky. 6,000 students from across the nation who had already won state-level contests competed and gained enhanced trade, technical and leadership skills during the SkillsUSA Conference.
Providing students with insights into additive manufacturing and hands-on experience using today’s latest 3D printing technology and software, the competition marked the first time an additive manufacturing experience was included in the national event.
SME created the additive manufacturing contest to attract students to the new, exciting, emerging technologies and tools involved. These technologies are already very relevant to industry and companies are looking for a workforce with additive manufacturing/3D printing experience and ability.
In the national competition, student teams were first asked to use three-dimensional CAD software to design a car model meeting contest specifications, including 3D print time, size and material usage. Car models were then printed in ABS material on a Stratasys 3D printer.
Teams were tested on their knowledge of 3D printing with a written exam and participated in a one-hour Quick Challenge: designing an iPhone case for a celebrity client.
Additive manufacturing/3D printing has become a critical component for STEM-related programs and curricula in the education system.
Pam Hurt, workforce development industry manager at SME, suggests educators use 3D printing as a tool to help students visualize their ideas. “It gives the student the ability to design a part, see the printed part, and if they aren’t happy with their results, make the necessary improvements and try again,” she said.
The demand for additive manufacturing engineers and technicians has increased well beyond the supply of qualified entry-level applicants. “SME is working with industry and educators to make sure we’re all working toward the same end-goal: an educated and motivated student,” said Hurt.
The following high school and college students were the winners of SME/SkillsUSA Additive Manufacturing Contest. The students/teams received gold, silver and bronze awards.
High School Teams
- Tri County Regional Vocational Technical High School, Franklin, Massachusetts
Tyler Thomas and Joshua Fuller
- Hastings High School, Hastings, Nebraska
Adolfo Diaz and Tommy Tran
- Team C (Stephen Green/James Carson)
C-TEC High School
- Manatee Technical College, Bradenton, Florida
John Tilelli and Bodhi Knight
Learn more about SME and SkillsUSA here.
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