Chattanooga Maker Day 2013

IntroductionMe at Chattanooga Maker Day, 4th Floor Chattanooga, TN Library - March 2013
Chattanooga Maker Day is a showcase of Additive Manufacturing Technology. It is a great avenue to educate the public! I was there with 2 of the Thing-O-Matics from our DreamVendor (3D printing Vending machine) and had the opportunity to educate people about Additive Manufacturing as broad field beyond desktop 3D printers.

Importance of the work
Teaching the public about Additive Manufacturing technology (aka 3D printing) shows them the possibilities of the technology as well as its limitations. Ultimately, bringing the technology to the public and providing an up-close view of how the equipment works is the best way to make the technology "real" to them.

Tasks Completed
For this event I gave a talk about and overview Additive Manufacturing (AM) technologies and commercial uses for the technology. I also brought posters and AM prints from my lab to show people the difference in each type of AM technology.  The event was so exciting and loud that I almost lost my voice before giving my talk!

Skills Gained
Giving a technical talk in front of a non-technical audience was definitely a challenge for me. Also, holding a booth for an event such as this was a new experience (did I mention I almost lost my voice?). From this, I gained many skills:

- Networking
- Communicating technical information to a non-technical audience
- Consulting 3D technologies (many people asked me for recommendations of equipment from the large laboratory-type down to the hobby printers)

Lessons Learned
From this event I learned how to better convey the importance of my work through more meaningful examples. In other words, I found that my typical explanations were either irrelevant to my audience or to technical. From this experience and from every other outreach experience, I've learned to better communicate the importance of my work by identifying examples that are meaningful to particular audiences.

Impact of the Work
Ultimately, I was able to bring to the event the scientific work that is going on in Additive Manufacturing (AM), that is, what is happening beyond hobby-type 3D printers.  I was able to demonstrate the differences among AM technologies and hopefully enlighten some minds about the impact of AM on their future.

Figure 1: Me at my booth at Chattanooga Maker Day. Some 3D prints from my lab are displayed as well as a Thing-O-Matic which is printing
Figure 2: Event schedule for Chattanooga Maker Day with my talk highlighted