Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, refers to the process of continually ‘adding’ materials (like plastics, metal, or glass) in layers to create a three-dimensional object. Whatever you prefer to call it, 3D printing continues to see a boom. This boom will continue as companies realize the cost savings and the flexibility to create a variety of parts and even complete systems. However, as it grows, so is the need to create oversight, education, policies, and research.
To answer that call, the New Mexico Technology Council (NMTC) has once again brought smart tech people together. It’s latest creation is a 3D Printing Peer Group. As President and CEO, Nyika Allen, says “NMTC is always listening to its membership for new events, programming, and feedback. Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies (PADT) came to us with the idea for the 3D Printing group in New Mexico and we jumped at the chance!”
On June 22, more than twenty individuals attended the first meeting. Attendees included a k-12 teacher from APS, a representative of the City of Albuquerque’s Economic Development Department, inventors, trainers, designers, architects, and mechanical engineers working on space systems.
During the event, Eric R. Miller, principal and co-founder of PADT, spoke about the need for volunteers for a steering committee, and Rey Chu, principal and co-founder of PADT, shared recent news in additive manufacturing. There was also some great discussion about materials. As Rey Chu mentioned, “3D printing is a material driven application, it can only go as far as the materials available. The more we support new materials, the wider application 3D printing will have.”
Creating opportunity and community in 3D printing
There’s a lot going on in the field of 3D printing:
- Oversight: For example, anyone could make airplane parts using additive 3D printing, but who will regulate those parts to ensure that they are created to a safe standard?
- Education: Developing educational opportunities for younger students as well as those who want to work in the field.
- Policies: Policies concerning everything from environmental protections to user safety.
- Research: With this budding technology, there is still a lot of room for exploring. New materials are being tested and developed, who will create the next big material to change the future of additive manufacturing?
To encompass as much of that opportunity as possible, the purpose of the committee is to:
- Create stronger cooperation between companies, schools, and individuals involved in 3D printing in New Mexico.
- Foster cooperation between organizations to increase the benefits of 3D printing to New Mexico.
- Make a contribution to New Mexico STEM education in the area of 3D Printing.
Growing benefits of similar groups
PADT is leading a similar group in in Phoenix, Arizona, run by the Arizona Technology Council. It has grown to over a hundred members and they meet once a month. One of the benefits that have come from this group includes an increased accessibility to SBIR grants. This is due to the fact that members have access to a wide variety of experts who are experienced in creating strong proposals.
Meeting every quarter
If you are a user, manufacturer, researcher, or seller of additive manufacturing tech, then consider adding your unique views and input to this group. Meetings will be held once a quarter. Presentations will be limited to an educational or technical presentation that is of interest to the group (i.e. no sales pitches).
Meanwhile, the group is also looking for members to join the steering committee. The steering committee will meet virtually once a month, listen to the overall group’s interests and ideas, and help steer the group to successful and productive meetings.
Gathering support from the community
Tech ideas like the 3Dprinting group and the NMTC, continue to get great support from the Albuquerque community. Rio Bravo Brewing Company supplied space for free in their upstairs meeting room, and PADT supplied beer from Rio Bravo and food from Garcia’s Kitchen.
To keep up to date on the next meetings, sign up for the NMTC newsletter and we’ll let you know when the next one is scheduled.