Sunday, June 4, 2017

construct3D 2017

Construct3D 2017

Construct3D is a national conference on digital fabrication focused on “3D printing” for higher education, K-12, and community education. Join us as we explore ways to foster student engagement, support research, and improve understanding using 21st century technology. Construct3D 2017, the inaugural conference, was held at Duke University May 5 – 7, 2017. It will rotate to various institutions annually.

I attended Construct3D 2017 at the start of the month of May right before exams started. The conference took place a Duke University and I drove over to Duke since the research triangle is within driving distance. I was super impressed with all of the speakers and activities that were slated to occur during the conference. Even though life was busy with teaching and finals, I told myself that the conference was something that I simply could NOT pass up. I had to be at the conference early as I had signed up for a Grasshopper pre conference workshop (more on that in another post). After the workshop, things kicked off with at The Foundry with the keynote address. The Foundry is a project space where student teams can work on projects. Before the keynote I walked around some of the project spaces and learned about some of the things happening there. 

One of the notable projects was a conductive filament development team that was selling their conductive filament. They had printed circuit demonstrations that were really cool.

Matt Griffin of Ultimaker and formerly Makerbot.

John Kawola of Ultimaker.

The first night at The Foundry was really inspiring with Dale Dougherty (MAKE Magazine). 

After the keynote, I wandered into the Duke electric vehicle team project space and listened to an impromptu talk by several of the team members. It looked like a fascinating project to be a part of. I was super impressed with the students presentation and knowledge on their subject matter.

The next day I checked out several of the demo tables and talked to folks/companies that were set up at the conference.

My colleague from AppState, Derek Eggers, talking to a Lulzbot rep.

ShopBot was showing their products and speaking as well as giving tours since they are located close by. It was interesting to hear about how they started their business out of a garage.

Ultimaker was there in full effect. Sander van Geelen was there. I have been a big fan of Erik and Sander's work since first seeing the Ultimker emerge on the RepRap scene when I was scratch building printers many years ago. After meeting them both at the John's Hopkins Conference, I was further impressed. I am still so grateful for the generous donation of an Ultimaker 2 that they provided me due to my e-NABLE work.

Skylar Tibbits from MIT spoke the following day. He gave a great talk and I kept thinking about Bryan the entire time as I knew he would have really enjoyed the lecture. Bryan and I talked about Skylar's research several years ago when Bryan was just leaving UWM after completing his MFA. It was great to see the current projects by Skylar's team and to hear him speak in person. I was able to thank him for his great presentation afterwards.

A quote from Eric Schimelpfenig's talk.

I attended several talks that first morning. The Rhino/Grasshopper talk by Andres was really great. I then took in a series of talks on the integration of 3D printing in Art college level programs. After hearing these talks I realized that I really should have presented at the conference. The work that I did at the Digital Craft Research Lab with lab set-up, as well as curricular development was farther ahead of it's time than I realized. I just took most of it for granted because I was knee deep in figuring out where digital fabrication belonged in higher education, but little did I know we were blazing new territory. Chip asked the audience at the conference how many people have their degree in 3D printing. Of course no one raised their hand, but had any of my students been there, they could have raised their hand and said that they had their degree in digital fabrication.  If nothing else, it has reaffirmed that I need to gather all of the documentation that I have from setting up the DCRL in Milwaukee and make it available. I also need to find a way to share all of the projects and work I did in some open source manner. Up until now, I have only shared my DCRL work/project folders with former students, like Bryan at ACAD, Chad at UWM, and Caitlin at Hubei, China. After my website redesign occurs, I have to work on this enormous task. Anyway, back to the conference...

Colby Parsons, who I met last Fall at UNT, gave a lecture on how he in integrating digital technology into his art curriculum at Texas Women's College.

I loved this quote from Tom Burtonwood's lecture. "Art schools are the original maker spaces."

Tom Butonwood's talk was great. I was lucky to meet Tom initially at UWM when he came for a visiting artists talk and then again when he delivered some work that he had invited me to show in an exhibition with him. I always love following the things Tom is up to.

Payson McNett's talk was really excellent. Payson is a sculptor, but it sounds like he did exactly what I did at UWM with little to no funding. You can tell he has a similar bootstrap approach to things. I spoke with him briefly after his talk.

Matthew Borgatti

Marius Watz gave an extremely excellent talk. I loaned him a video adapter before his talk so he gave me one of his printed sculptures after the talk. I really loved the work he showed and his thoughts on the use of 3D printing in Art. Great stuff and very thoughtful. 

Jim Spencer from Notre Dame gave a great technical talk on building resin printers with DLP projectors. I was very aware of this technology since my initial blog post on this 2011, but Jim did an excellent job of breaking down the details.  This is something that I need to build in the near future.

Sander van Geelen from Ultimaker and Laura Tallman (aka Mathgrrl). I was able to chat with Sander about Ultimaker's Pioneer Program for educators which sounds really phenomenal. Laura helped put the conference together and was a speaker as well. I might add that Lizabeth Arum also co ran the conference (not pictured here). They did an amazing job! 

As you can see from above there were just too many interesting talks to attend and things to see. Honestly, I had trouble deciding what talks to go to as I wanted to take in everything. I can't possibly put into words how much I enjoyed this conference. I have attended many conferences before, but something about this conference was different. I don't know if it was because it brought together so many people with different backgrounds (primarily educators in Library Sciences, Art, Engineering, Science, Math, etc) that were all interested in digital fabrication or if it because this group is well aware of, and participants in the open source movement; but there was a genuine sense of generosity in the air during the conference. I didn't sense any egos and I felt like people really wanted to spend time discussing topics and hearing about each other. Again, this was just a different kind of conference that I was super impressed by. I would HIGHLY recommend this conference to anyone interested in digital fabrication. 

There is talk that the conference will happen again next year, and so I plan on attending again if that is the case. Look for it!

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