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AMT Tech Trends: Augmentin Reality

Ben and Steve are back from their first work trips of 2023! Benjamin returned from the A3 Business Forum in Orlando, FL, where he organized a committee meeting to discuss the current technological woes of manufacturing ...
Jan 27, 2023

Episode 87: Ben and Steve are back from their first work trips of 2023! Benjamin returned from the A3 Business Forum in Orlando, FL, where he organized a committee meeting to discuss the current technological woes of manufacturing. Stephen has returned from SHOT Show in Vegas, where he was a kid in a candy store both personally and professionally, and he managed to enjoy the show while dealing with a nasty sinus infection.

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Benjamin Moses:          Hello, everyone. Welcome to the AMT Tech Trends podcast, where we discuss the latest manufacturing technology, research, and news. Today's episode is sponsored by Modern Machine Shop. I am the Director of Technology, Benjamin Moses, and I'm here with...

Stephen LaMarca:         Technology Analyst, Steven LaMarca.

Benjamin Moses:          Steve, how are you doing? Welcome to-

Stephen LaMarca:         Doing great.

Benjamin Moses:          Doing great?

Stephen LaMarca:         Doing great.

Benjamin Moses:          We did our first trip of the year, each of us.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah. Separate trips.

Benjamin Moses:          Separate trips. Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         We did both the first trip of the year.

Benjamin Moses:          Separate regions in the US?

Stephen LaMarca:         Yes, sir.

Benjamin Moses:          You going to tell me about your trip to SHOT Show?

Stephen LaMarca:         Yes, sir. It was amazing. Hands down. Hands down. Second best trade show I've ever been to in my life.

Benjamin Moses:          Second, wow.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          I'll have to write that down.

Stephen LaMarca:         The first being IMTS, of course. I was about to call it a AMTS, I was like, "you dingus." SHOT Show, went to Vegas for SHOT Show, spent a work week in Vegas, got there early morning flight out of DCA.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         Which was a mistake, I'll try to never do that again, but I was just... When I booked it, I think I was just excited. I was like, "I've been wanting to go to SHOT Show since high school."

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         Since I've known about SHOT Show, I've wanted to go there. It was everything I hoped for and then some.

Benjamin Moses:          Okay.

Stephen LaMarca:         Even though, on a professional level, it was amazing. It was way more than I anticipated on a work standpoint. However, I remember telling you in preparation for SHOT Show, that one of the reasons I wanted to go there was to talk to SIG, and talk about their manufacturing processes, what equipment they're using, about the deal that they made last year with the Next Generation Service weapon. SIG wasn't there.

Benjamin Moses:          They let you down. They said, "Stephen's not coming, let's not show."

Stephen LaMarca:         It's funny because when I wasn't on the exhibit hall floor, or when I wasn't having a meeting with a booth, or supplier, or attending one of the seminars, or having a meeting back in my room with somebody at HQ; I was watching either SHOT Show TV, which was on the hotel room TV channel, which was great.

Benjamin Moses:          That's fun.

Stephen LaMarca:         Not as good as IMDSTV. Seriously, not as good as IMDSTV. I'm not just saying that. Still a constant feed of content.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         If I wasn't watching that, I was watching YouTube on other people's SHOT Show coverage.

Benjamin Moses:          Okay.

Stephen LaMarca:         The very first video of SHOT Show coverage that I saw was from Industry Day at the Range, which I've mentioned before, invite only, didn't get in this year. Hopefully through some of my meetings, and through some of the contacts, and conversations that I'm continuing post SHOT Show that I'll be having this year, I'll secure us an invite for Industry Day at the Range next year.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         Through all that the very first YouTube video that I saw covering SHOT Show was SIG.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         They were at Industry Day at the Range, the invite only part of the event.

Benjamin Moses:          One day event.

Stephen LaMarca:         One day.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         It's only on Monday. SHOT Show was Monday through Friday.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         SIG was only there. They didn't have a booth, and it really let me down. If it was any other trade show minus IMTS, it would've totally put a damper on the show and it would totally have killed the mood. One thing that almost killed the mood, but I didn't let it, the Thursday before SHOT Show, I started feeling like a headache. I had a headache, but it was a strange headache. I thought it was like a cluster headache, and it was right under my right eye and it was just like a pressure. I was like, "This is a pressure headache, sinus headache, something like that. Let's just pop some Excedrin. Go to bed and it'll be gone."

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         Felt fine. Woke up that Friday felt okay, and then it came back.

Benjamin Moses:          Oh no.

Stephen LaMarca:         I was like, "All right, let's take more Excedrin."

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         It just stayed through the entire weekend and I was constantly medicating and I was like, "All right, you know what?" As I'm packing for SHOT Show, I'm like, "Let's throw in some headache medication. Let's throw in some Sudafed, because that also helps with headaches. Also it's in Vegas, so there's probably going to be some alcohol consumed." As I get older, the more and more sensitive I get to alcohol and having one drink or even a sip of beer gets me stuffed up right away. It's probably a good idea to pack some Sudafed. Anyway, show goes on. I'm having a great time. Still got this headache. Headache gets worse and worse and worse and on Wednesday, it was almost like crippling how bad it was. Then I realized I'm looking stuff up online, which is the worst thing you can possibly do, but it actually worked this time because it was feeling like I had a toothache too. It was getting that bad. It was coming down into my jaw.

Benjamin Moses:          WebMD would've told you you had cancer.

Stephen LaMarca:         WebMD would be like, "Go to the ER now, you're going to die. But deduced, and even Google said that this is "self diagnosable".

Benjamin Moses:          Okay.

Stephen LaMarca:         Most things, you're not supposed to diagnose yourself.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         Google or WebMD or Mayo Clinic, whichever one that Google sent me to was like, "Yeah, you can self-diagnose for this. You have a sinus infection." I figure okay, let me just go down to the nearest pharmacy. Fortunately in the Venetian, which is where I stayed, they had a pharmacy vending machine. Coolest thing, of course, Vegas, because you can get escorts, you can go to a dispensary. All that stuff's pretty much legal there.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         Why not have prescription drugs too?

Benjamin Moses:          Why not.

Stephen LaMarca:         Just go down to the lobby. There's a vending machine with prescription drugs in it.

Benjamin Moses:          Wow.

Stephen LaMarca:         No antibiotics. No serious... I'm talking, I don't mean prescription drugs, but the drugs that would typically be behind the counter where you'd go pick up a prescription, they just have them in a vending machine.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure, sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         You're like, "You need Sudafed? We've got a vending machine for that." I go down there, get a sinus medication, and I'm feeling better and back in it. As soon as I got back from SHOT Show, I go to Patient First, just go to [inaudible 00:06:37] because I don't feel like calling my doctor, setting something up. "Oh yeah, we can see you next month." Forget that. Go to Patient First. Oh, I also didn't do this in Vegas because who packs their HSA card to bring to Vegas?

Benjamin Moses:          Wow. Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         I never thought of that. I never thought, "Oh, I'm going to go on this business trip. I'm going to get sick." Even though it definitely happens, people get sick on business trips.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah, that that's my second biggest fear while traveling is getting sick while traveling and being in a hospital somewhere.

Stephen LaMarca:         Oh man, that's scary. That happened to Garand Thumb. We can get into that later. He ate a spicy meatball and he was hospitalized. Apparently there's a bingo card for spotting gun tubers at SHOT Show.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         Nobody got Garand Thumb because he was in the hospital. Anyway, I get back from... I go to Patient First and I tell the doc, "I'm pretty sure I got a sinus infection. I looked it up."

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         He's like, "When was the last time you had a sinus infection?" I was like, "Probably when I was in my teens. It's been forever since I've had a sinus infection but this isn't going away. I can pinpoint exactly where it's coming from. It's not coming from my teeth. It's not like a tooth or gum infection. They're in pain, but it's only because the pain is spreading. It started right below my right eye. That's like where a sinus canal is or something like that." He's like, "All right, sounds like you have a sinus infection. Where were you?" I was like, "I was in Vegas. I was at a work trip in Vegas last week. He was like, "Oh."

Benjamin Moses:          His tone changed quick.

Stephen LaMarca:         "I'm going to prescribe you Augmentin." I was like, "What is that?" I mean, I've heard of Augmentin before in a video game.

Benjamin Moses:          What is the scale of antibiotics?

Stephen LaMarca:         "It's a very strong antibiotic. It's good for sinus infections and genital infections. STDs." I was like, "Dude, I swear it's just a sinus infection. I know I was in Vegas. It's not syphilis or chlamydia. I'm good."

Benjamin Moses:          That's funny.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah, they gave me Augmentin.

Benjamin Moses:          The broad spectrum.

Stephen LaMarca:         It's got me a little loopy right now. It's a strong antibiotic, but I feel a lot better.

Benjamin Moses:          That's tough. Good, good. I'm glad.

Stephen LaMarca:         Wow.

Benjamin Moses:          I was in Orlando. We had a committee meeting in this automation committee, and we like to do it in conjunction with A3 Business Forum.

Stephen LaMarca:         Right.

Benjamin Moses:          We had committee meeting in the morning, I'm sorry, in the afternoon, which led into their first evening reception. Worked out fantastic.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          The only drawback was it was Monday at noon and I like to get there day before for my committee meetings to make sure everything's set up, especially when it's at a hotel, make sure everything's cool. Since we were meeting Monday, I didn't want to travel Sunday night, so I did what you did. I took an early morning flight. I think it's the earliest flight I've taken in a long time. 7:00 AM flight out of Reagan. In the Virginia area, I'm closer to-

Stephen LaMarca:         That means you woke up at 4:30?

Benjamin Moses:          I woke up at four o'clock. Four o'clock because I'm always stressed out about traveling.

Stephen LaMarca:         Same.

Benjamin Moses:          I'm up before the alarm goes off and I'm just staring at the alarm waiting for it to go off. I woke up at 4:00, got everything going. Unfortunately, I feel bad for Deepa because she came down with me in the morning and saw me off; but then got to the airport, everything...

Stephen LaMarca:         That's good you saw her before you left though.

Benjamin Moses:          What's that?

Stephen LaMarca:         That's nice. You saw her before you left though.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah, [inaudible 00:09:47] positive.

Stephen LaMarca:         That's sweet.

Benjamin Moses:          Everything worked out, but just so tired because by the time the committee meeting's done and the evening reception, you've been awake for like 50 hours and just exhausted the first day. Then rinse and repeat the next day because you got the whole conference. I was able to stay for the A3 Business Forum. A couple of things that came out of the committee meeting that's what I'm planning. We bring in speakers.

Stephen LaMarca:         That's tight. I'm actually also a little bit jealous. Don't get me wrong. I'm glad I went to SHOT Show.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         I want to attend an A3 Conference too.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah, we'll work on that.

Stephen LaMarca:         Okay.

Benjamin Moses:          We'll talk about that. There's another event we should go together for.

Stephen LaMarca:         Awesome, awesome. Okay.

Benjamin Moses:          The committee meeting, we discussed a business topic and a technology topic. The business topic we brought in was recruiters for talent in automation specifically. There's recruiting companies that have very specialized teams that look at different manufacturing sectors. The one speaker the committee brought in has a specific group that handles software, robot assist skills related to automation in particular. I found that completely fascinating. I never thought that there would be recruiters or HR specialists for individual manufacturing sectors. They talked about the different challenges. Are there regional issues? Are there pay issues? Are there benefit issues? A lot of the common issues are what other industries are facing also. If they're a designer or if they're an engineer, there's the challenge of working from home or the fringe benefits. Are they're hiring someone new, are they hiring someone more experienced? Are they looking for sales people?

                                    It was a very interesting look at the challenges that our committee members are facing on the workforce. The recruiters are able to basically talk through that yes, these are challenges that are faced across the world. Actually one of the speakers at the business forum talked about that too, is that there's a full life cycle for your human capital talking from recruiting, hiring, retention, and then post. There's a whole change in priorities as that person goes through.

Stephen LaMarca:         Right.

Benjamin Moses:          Someone early in their career, they could be more interested in compensation where someone later in their career, they could be more interested in flexibility, like myself trying to raise a family.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          It's a challenge nowadays. That's an interesting conversation for later on we can get into. That was a very interesting conversation the first half of the meeting. The second half, we brought in a company called Realtime Robotics. They're a startup company.

Stephen LaMarca:         Cool. Okay.

Benjamin Moses:          The reason we brought them in was they're looking at automating programming for robotics. It's basically streamlining the process of getting to a path for a robot. They specifically work for robots.

Stephen LaMarca:         Oh, that's sick.

Benjamin Moses:          Not an entire automation cell, but they look at a robotic cell. It could be-

Stephen LaMarca:         Like how to help you implement a robot in your system.

Benjamin Moses:          Exactly. They have a software, you design your whole system with whatever software you have, but they have kinematics for specific robots and they have just about every single robot that you [inaudible 00:12:56].

Stephen LaMarca:         That's cool.

Benjamin Moses:          You take out the model of your robot, put in theirs and in their software, and then you can begin the automation process of basically defining points to say, "Go here. Go there."

Stephen LaMarca:         That's really, really cool.

Benjamin Moses:          That's the first side of it. The second side is they do almost realtime programming or realtime commands to the robot itself. Instead of saying, "Robot, here are the 20 next path; robot here is the next path." The reason they bring that up is they do realtime collision detection.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          Well, realtime collision prevention, let's call it that. What they're doing is say there's two robots in a cell, they're doing something called voxel reservation.

Stephen LaMarca:         Voxel.

Benjamin Moses:          Voxel.

Stephen LaMarca:         Okay. A three-dimensional pixel.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah, correct.

Stephen LaMarca:         Is what a voxel is.

Benjamin Moses:          Correct.

Stephen LaMarca:         Reservation. What do you mean reserving a three-dimensional pixel?

Benjamin Moses:          The robot knows where it is now and where it wants to go. It reserves that space so the next robot does not potentially collide.

Stephen LaMarca:         Whoa.

Benjamin Moses:          There's another company we saw and we talked about them too at IMTS Veo Robotics where they're doing something similar where they're using different sensors to see where that robot is right now and what are all the potential paths from there. It reserves all those paths and it detects humans from going into that space. Then this is a very similar application where they have the current robot state, what are the future states? It reserves that space so it prevents collision.

Stephen LaMarca:         Okay. This is wild because just back in September, we thought Veo robotics was so far ahead because they were like, "Yeah, once this human gets close, we're going to keep this industrial arm swinging around at full speed. Once it gets close, once it gets within range, that's when we slow it down and/or stop it."

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         With voxel reservation it could keep it moving at full speed. Just once the human starts taking up space, we have it work around the human.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         Imagine, imagine if you did that?

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         That's wild. That is wild.

Benjamin Moses:          We have a lot of opportunity there. To be honest, Stephen, I drifted from what I initially planned.

Stephen LaMarca:         You're right. We dove right into this.

Benjamin Moses:          Let's come back to that.

Stephen LaMarca:         Let's talk about our sponsor.

Benjamin Moses:          Tell us about our sponsor.

Stephen LaMarca:         Our new sponsor, Modern Machine Shops' Made in the USA podcast. Tune in for Modern Machine Shops' Made in the USA podcast to explore manufacturing issues faced by companies making an intentional choice to manufacture in the US. Featuring commentary from OEM leaders Made in the USA blends its nearly century long expertise with unique audio storytelling experience to shine a spotlight on the past, present, and future of American manufacturing. Threw me off because there was no Oxford comma. Find Made in the USA on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and all major podcast platforms. Follow Modern Machine Shop on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Okay. Brand new sponsor. Of course I was going to totally duff that one.

Benjamin Moses:          We'll get into the pace of them.

Stephen LaMarca:         We'll figure it out. Thanks. I'm excited about that though.

Benjamin Moses:          That is a great podcast. Definitely recommend it. So getting back to what we were talking about earlier. Let's talk about technologies that we saw at SHOT Show.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yes.

Benjamin Moses:          Tell me more about, first give me an overview, what is SHOT Show and then how does that play in the manufacturing sector?

Stephen LaMarca:         For the third or fourth podcast now SHOT Show is a firearms industry trade show. It's like the biggest... If you're into guns, what SHOT Show is. It's kind of a big deal. Like I said, it's been a dream trade show of me to attend SHOT Show since high school, since I've known about SHOT show. In high school I didn't know what industry I was going to work in. I didn't know who I was going to work for and if I'd ever be able to go there. Long story short, I work in the manufacturing industry now and I went to SHOT Show for media and press coverage of what's new in the firearms industry for the reason of the firearms industry in manufacturing new firearms technology is industry adjacent to the manufacturing industry, meaning the manufacturing industry supplements all of the technology that is used to make the new stuff in SHOT Show.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         Thus, I can attend almost virtually any trade show that I want to. Why not SHOT Show? It's the beginning of the year. Let's do it.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure. Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         Went to CES in 2020. That was a hot mess, fun show, but hot mess. SHOT Show way better in terms of organization and being able to narrow down like there's not as much scope creep. You can focus on a particular thing. That's why I went and I wanted to see what manufacturers were doing with the advancements made recently in manufacturing technology and how they were applying said advancements to their product ranges.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah. Just to also get the landscape right, it's the end product in terms of firearms?

Stephen LaMarca:         Right.

Benjamin Moses:          They do have a very strong and very visible space for manufacturing technologies and manufacturers.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          It's the full spectrum that we see from manufacturing to end product. I was very interesting to see, you're looking at a firearm or a component and you're trying to figure out was it additively made or how did they manufacture that? Then you could literally walk somewhere else and ask someone that.

Stephen LaMarca:         Exactly. Speaking on behalf of additive, one of the biggest problems that additive is running into trying to integrate itself into the rest of the manufacturing landscape is designed for additive manufacturing.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         There are some things that manufacturers of any product want that were virtually impossible to produce in that sector until additive manufacturing came out.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         Additive manufacturing naturally as an industry, they are looking to find these pockets. One of the best places to look first is the defense industry because if you can get a defense contract, you probably have viability for your technology.

Benjamin Moses:          To be honest, I see that across other sectors. The applications and firearms is more suppressors style for additive and anything containing fluid in where you can optimize the fluid path. I feel like additive has a very positive use for production in those environments.

Stephen LaMarca:         Right, exactly. I forget exactly when, but rocket engines and to some degree jet engines have totally been flipped on their head.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         NASA says rocket engines will never be traditionally manufactured ever again because additive just makes rocket engines so much better and jet engines are starting to go that way too.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         One cool thing is, yeah, I remember when I started at AMT, I showed you and our colleague at the time, Russ, a YouTube video of a suppressor company called OSS, operator suppressor something or other. I'm not sure it means the same thing anymore, but the company still exists and they still make suppressors the same way, which is an unorthodox way. Typically suppressors are made utilizing a baffle type layout. That just means that there's chambers in the suppressor and it's very much like that of a reflective resonator or reflective-type muffler for an internal combustion engine vehicle, like a muffler for your car but instead you put it on the end of muzzle of a gun and a bullet has to be able to go through it and it silences the sound report of the gunshot.

                                    One of the big problems with both engine mufflers and baffle-type suppressors is that it generates a side effect called back pressure. If a car engine has too much back pressure, it can't make as much power as it theoretically could if it had a straight piped exhaust. You don't have cars driving around with straight piped exhausts because nobody would get sleep at night and there would be constant calls to the police for disturbing the peace. baffle-type suppressor also generates this type of back pressure. That becomes a problem when the firearm with a baffle-type suppressor retrofitted to the muzzle if it is a semi-auto or fully automatic firearm that requires some level of fluid dynamics for it to operate sequentially, for it to autonomously chamber the next cartridge and be ready to fire it. Then adding back pressure can either make that system not work or work in a way that it can over time it can expedite the wear on certain components and eventually damage itself.

Benjamin Moses:          You also have the pressure escaping from the chamber and often hitting the operator or user itself.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah. If that pressure can't leave the muzzle where the suppressor is then...

Benjamin Moses:          It's got to go somewhere.

Stephen LaMarca:         The law of physics, it'll find a path of least resistance. In some semi-automatic platforms that is back towards the shooter, the person operating the firearm, which is no fun. It moots the point. Anyway, with additive and with this reversing, if you take a jet or rocket engine and redesign it so a projectile can travel down the center of it, you can in effect do the same thing that a standard baffle-type suppressor does, which is just slow down 50,000 plus PSI of hot expanding gas. Instead of trying to stop it in its tracks with baffles, you're creating multiple long passages for that gas to stretch out and expand into before it leaves the firearm instead of going back into the shooter or trying to stop altogether in its tracks, which would be physically impossible. What I'm trying to say is a flow through suppressor is basically a jet engine or a rocket engine in reverse with a cavity down the center for a projectile to travel through. This type of suppressor, they can be machined.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         In the past when they were originally invented, when a flow through suppressor was invented by OSS, they can be machined, but because there's so many intricate and complex geometries, it's very expensive and they take a long time to make right.

Benjamin Moses:          Right. They're also machining high temperature resistant material.

Stephen LaMarca:         Right.

Benjamin Moses:          A lot of nickel-based alloys, which are-

Stephen LaMarca:         Right. Nobody talked to any machinist. They do not want to cut Inconel. They don't. They don't. Especially when, well, I'll get into that. Anyway, the best way to get all these complex geometries and to get these long intricate passageways for hot expanding gas and a lot of PSIs worth of it is with additive manufacturing.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         A lot of these new suppressors are being 3D printed. A lot of these new flow through suppressors are being 3D printed.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         One thing is that I found out I was just about to go into was when you metal 3D print the suppressor, you still need the suppressor to be able to mount onto the muzzle of a gun because nobody's designed an integrated 3D printed suppressor and barrel and gas system if it's a semi-automatic. You print the suppressor and then you still need material removal to cut the threads.

Benjamin Moses:          Correct.

Stephen LaMarca:         One other thing that I learned from one of the suppliers that 3D print suppressors for a lot of major companies is they thread cut, thread turn, thread mill.

Benjamin Moses:          Thread mill. Yeah. T.

Stephen LaMarca:         The threads on the muzzle end of the suppressor using thread milling.

Benjamin Moses:          Okay.

Stephen LaMarca:         They don't use a tap.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure, sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         Apparently a tap is no bueno. As advanced additive manufacturing is right now, there's still a little too much porosity in the printed metal for you to reliably be able to use a tap. They use thread milling.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah, that's come up in discussions a lot on additive parts and a lot of events where the part has to be mated to someone or attached to something. A lot of times they're either screwed, welded on or whatever. A lot of the high precision holes for attaching through dowel pins that's post machined. Threads are still machined on most cases. 3D printing threads is kind of a misnomer or a mistake that a lot of people jump right into. It's like just print the whole part where that's probably one of the weaker parts probably because of the material direction.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          When you're machining that you're able to get the raw material also. If you use any type of thread forming, that'll get you a better, higher strength material.

Stephen LaMarca:         Right.

Benjamin Moses:          Of course in this case, since they're doing probably Inconel probably 625 or something along those lines-

Stephen LaMarca:         Titanium, stainless steel and Inconel.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         The one supplier that I was talking to that was manufacturing the suppressor for a lot of the major OEMs was saying that they will, but they're going to charge you extra because they don't like to print with Inconel.

Benjamin Moses:          Okay.

Stephen LaMarca:         It is a possibility.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         The machines are very good at it. I got insight as to which machines, which three metal 3D printers are the heavy lifters in the firearms industry. It's really cool because they happen to be a sponsor of the show. Yeah, I won't get into that. Yeah, they don't like to. They don't like to print Inconel.

Benjamin Moses:          That's fair.

Stephen LaMarca:         Even though printing, it's way easier than cutting it.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah, and that's a good point. I never really thought about tapping versus thread milling.

Stephen LaMarca:         I certainly hadn't.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah, that's a fair point.

Stephen LaMarca:         I was blown away when he told me.

Benjamin Moses:          That's cool. Also, you mentioned something on materials at SHOT show and new materials that they're using. Obviously you're talking about additive and additive has a huge way to go for materials. Are there any other new materials you're seeing in firearms?

Stephen LaMarca:         Not, okay so I'm thinking they're not new to us.

Benjamin Moses:          Okay.

Stephen LaMarca:         They're not new to the manufacturing world because we're blessed working in the manufacturing industry, we see all of these new futuristic materials that will become big before anybody else does. What's new to us or what's new to them is we've known about these materials, so they're just now getting into Inconel for suppressors. Inconel is an ideal material for suppressors and even exhaust systems if you want to go in that direction too.

Benjamin Moses:          Titanium's not too bad either.

Stephen LaMarca:         Titanium's not bad.

Benjamin Moses:          It's got some-

Stephen LaMarca:         The military avoids titanium. Major government contracts avoid titanium suppressors because A more expensive, and B, while it's lightweight and pretty good for thermals, when you do pass that thermal threshold, it's a catastrophic failure as opposed to steel and Inconel will hold off a little bit better. Steel will melt first instead of just dragging. Inconel its bread and butters to get hot. Ideally they want Inconel, the military wants Inconel. The manufacturers do not.

Benjamin Moses:          Titanium will actually catch on fire.

Stephen LaMarca:         Titanium will catch on fire. Yeah. Titanium, I learned this that the titanium suppressors are typically reserved for the bougie civilian market because we're scrawny and wimpy and lame and we just want to LARP with cool military technology. A civilian market wants titanium suppressors because they're lightweight. They don't add as much weight. Titanium suppressors in some cases, actually no, before I say that, I'm not going to say it because it's not true, but they like them because they're lightweight. Even though the heavier metals like stainless steel and Inconel do a much better job at suppressing.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         Weight is harder to vibrate. Sound is vibration. The heavier the can is, the better it is in basic physics to dampen the loud, sharp acoustics of a gunshot.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure, sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         Titanium suppressors, your only benefit is that they're lighter.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         They're more expensive and they don't suppress as well.

Benjamin Moses:          Gotcha.

Stephen LaMarca:         They're only for civilians, that are like, "I don't want to carry a big, heavy suppressor on the end of the muzzle."

Benjamin Moses:          Awesome Steve. I'm glad-

Stephen LaMarca:         No military will ever use a titanium suppressor.

Benjamin Moses:          We'll see. We'll map out our next couple of end use trade shows. I'm definitely interested in the article you're going to publish from this trip.

Stephen LaMarca:         This is going to be blessed. I already posted the meat of what the article will be as a post on LinkedIn. It essentially went viral, as viral as anything I've ever put on social media. I think we're pushing 30,000 views on the LinkedIn post.

Benjamin Moses:          Wow.

Stephen LaMarca:         It's got 30 something comments and more than 200 reactions to it.

Benjamin Moses:          That's cool.

Stephen LaMarca:         I think it's going to be a popular article.

Benjamin Moses:          Nice.

Stephen LaMarca:         Just seeing what people have to say about it in the comments section and replying to their comments is adding to what the article will be when it comes out in MT Magazine.

Benjamin Moses:          Cool.

Stephen LaMarca:         I'm really excited about it.

Benjamin Moses:          Awesome Steve. Getting back to the automation-

Stephen LaMarca:         Before you get back into your show, the meat of the show, the technicality, the stuff that we do want to hear let's hear what everybody else doesn't want to hear and what I want to hear, the logistics. I want to know how the actual travel went.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         You left early in the morning.

Benjamin Moses:          Left early. Did I check in? You're there so early and the check-ins like the hotel room's not ready yet. You're walking around with your luggage and I took a bunch of handouts that I wanted to for the committee. It worked out fantastic. I'm rolling around the big conference hotel with my luggage and I had set up the room, so it's of course the opposite side of your room. I go wandering around, sit, get the room set up and then I go back to check in. Luckily it was close enough to noon, it was like 11:30 or something like that. I was able to check in and finally get all of my stuff into my room, then get back to lunch in the conference room for the committee meeting, which worked out great. The hotel provided a great meal, which is interesting, planning out meals to the hotels, number of people and then they have themes. It was a Mediterranean theme. I was like, "Let's do this. This is going to be fun."

                                    The first day worked out fantastic, committee meeting worked out great, brought in all the speakers, and then transitioning to the first night of the network reception, the reception for the conference itself. Then it was interesting, like yourself, I had some work to do during the event. Some of it is offline. I had to deliver the tech report last week. That worked out.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah. Thank you for doing that.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah, that was fun. I think this type of meeting, it's kind of a fun/networking/content focus meeting.

Stephen LaMarca:         It's the best type of show.

Benjamin Moses:          In between speakers there's a fair amount of downtime and after lunch, so I used that time to work on stuff. Since we're in Orlando, I was like, "Well, why should I work in my room?" I just took my laptop, worked by the pool.

Stephen LaMarca:         Awesome.

Benjamin Moses:          Enjoy the sun. I'm in my full suit of course because I'm going back and forth so I'm in my suit, which worked out well. If you don't travel to Orlando in January often it's cold. It's chilly at night. One other thing I completely messed up is I try and incorporate some exercise when I travel. There was a 5K which I signed up for. It worked out great.

Stephen LaMarca:         God bless you, man.

Benjamin Moses:          I'm in the lobby at six o'clock in the morning. It's still dark.

Stephen LaMarca:         You're wild.

Benjamin Moses:          I have my shorts, and one of those dry fit t-shirts.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          It's 42 degrees outside.

Stephen LaMarca:         Wild boy.

Benjamin Moses:          I didn't bring any of my cold equipment, which I should have. I didn't bring my fanny pack to put my card in and my phone in. I was completely unprepared. I blame last minute preparation because I packed that midnight on Sunday for my 7:00 AM flight. Planning and preparation for Monday flight kind of messed me up.

Stephen LaMarca:         Oh my God. I forgot to tell you something else that I screwed up.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         All right. I did last minute preparation for SHOT Show as well. I lay everything out on the bed before I put it in the suitcase because usually before as I'm packing, I'm also doing laundry too because there's stuff that I'm short on and only because I'm running out of time. Of course I stayed up late the night before traveling, gaming with the boys. I shove everything in the suitcase and think that I was fully packed. I nearly brought everything that I needed, but I only packed two pairs of underwear instead of the needed five. I was like, man.

Benjamin Moses:          Oh man.

Stephen LaMarca:         The last time I did that was our first business trip together to Pennsylvania when we went to the export control regulations workshop.

Benjamin Moses:          Oh, to Pittsburgh. Yeah. That was fun.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah, that was a good time. Oh yeah, Pittsburgh. That's right.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah. One thing you see on the desk here is two sheets of paper. One is my notes, the other one is our actually set up checklist. Setting up this booth, setting up this studio, this is a checklist I run through every single time we do this.

Stephen LaMarca:         Nice.

Benjamin Moses:          I think I have to make a packing checklist, Steve. This is the second trip I screwed up in packing.

Stephen LaMarca:         That's smart though.

Benjamin Moses:          Also, not only do I try and I plan for it, I bring the exercise equipment, but also I like to play video games. I have a laptop, my personal laptop, I have my game stuff on. I brought the laptop. I did not bring the charger for the laptop. Steve, you have no idea how painful it is to take another five pound...

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          I have two laptops with me, but I couldn't use it. I was so frustrated with myself.

Stephen LaMarca:         That is pain.

Benjamin Moses:          That was so painful.

Stephen LaMarca:         That is pain. I try to avoid bringing chargers. I pleasantly found out that my phone, which is a Google Pixel, has a USBC fast charger and our work laptops have a USBC on the side of them.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         Some chargers will actually use USB, like the new Dell chargers. I was like, "You know what, I'm not going to bring a laptop charger because I hate bringing a laptop charger."

Benjamin Moses:          It's a brick.

Stephen LaMarca:         It's a brick. It's extra weight. It's just like when I'm at a trade show, I try to limit myself how much I'm on my computer because I'm trying to absorb the actual trade show. When I was in the hotel room, I was like, "Man, it's only Tuesday and I'm already at 30% battery. Why don't I shut down, go to the show and while I'm at the show I'll try plugging in my phone charger."

Benjamin Moses:          Okay.

Stephen LaMarca:         Because I noticed that the phone charger does not charge the laptop when the laptop's on.

Benjamin Moses:          Oh sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         When I shut down, close the lid and I plug in the phone charger, the white light on the front of the...

Benjamin Moses:          It's charging.

Stephen LaMarca:         It does charge.

Benjamin Moses:          Cool.

Stephen LaMarca:         It charges really slowly.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         But it does charge. Found out that in a day I'll get at least 50% power so it's perfect.

Benjamin Moses:          It worked out well for you.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah. It worked out well for me but it does suck when you're out of batteries on something and you just have that dead weight. It's like...

Benjamin Moses:          Why?

Stephen LaMarca:         Hopefully there's like a UPS or FedEx store because I'm going to ship it back. I don't want to carry it in my bag.

Benjamin Moses:          On the way back, so worked there for a couple days and then I flew back on a Wednesday or whatever and I took a late flight just to make sure I'd get all the content. I knew I would've calls also. I scheduled from the event finishing at noon, get some lunch, do a couple calls, and then get to the airport by 4:00. I think it's four o'clock flight or something like that. Of course checkout is 11:00 or 7:00 in the morning. It doesn't make any sense. I asked for a late checkout. Luckily it was a Hilton I got some points. Says, "Yeah, you get noon." "Thanks for the extra hour. Can I get two o'clock?" They said, "No, but you can charge $25 per hour." That's one thing that keep in mind that if you ask for a super late checkout, like a 2:00 PM, all they'll do is charge you an extra 50 bucks and it's worth getting that room. After my meetings and I went back to the room, did a couple calls, and I just changed in my hotel and then left.

Stephen LaMarca:         Wow.

Benjamin Moses:          That's something to keep in your back pocket.

Stephen LaMarca:         I have not run into that yet.

Benjamin Moses:          I recommend it.

Stephen LaMarca:         Now I've run into places being like, it's a 10:00 AM checkout. It was like, "Can I get a later checkout?" Then it'd be like, "We can do 11:00." I was like, "Can I do a later checkout than that?" It was like, "We can do 12:00." "How's 1:00?" "All right, we can do 1:00 PM for you."

Benjamin Moses:          It's like a negotiation every single time.

Stephen LaMarca:         It is like a negotiation. It's like, all right, for Vegas, it makes sense, because those hotels are massive and they fill them up and they're constantly trading trade shows. When one trade show moves out, another one's moving in. Vegas is a well-oiled machine that fake oasis in the middle of a Nevada desert. I understand them being strict about their checkout because they're making money, a lot of money on those rooms. They don't have vacancies. They need you out so a cleaner can undo all of the nonsense and nastiness that you've ruined in that room. For Vegas, they make sense, but they're already making a ton of money off of you. They let you check out late.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         I was out of there on time and I'm glad I left early because Vegas traffic is a lot worse these days. In the middle of a part of the Midwest where you have a meeting and there's only three cars in the hotel's parking lot. It's like, "To hell with you, man. Let me check out at 6:00 PM. You're not losing any money off of me checking out late."

Benjamin Moses:          Sure. Yeah. Just ask for that. If you need a late check out, ask them for that time and tell them you're willing to pay and see what they do. I recommend it. Steve, where can they find more info about us?

Stephen LaMarca:         AMTonline.org/resources. Hit all the buttons.

Benjamin Moses:          Bye.

Stephen LaMarca:         That means like, share, subscribe, notification bell. I don't know. This isn't YouTube.

Benjamin Moses:          Bye. Technically yes, we are posting on YouTube.

Stephen LaMarca:         If you're on YouTube like share, subscribe, and comment.

Benjamin Moses
Director, Technology
Recent technology News
Episode 119: The Tech Friends miss bread garages and want them back! Elissa reports on some metal 3D printing IN SPACE aboard the ISS. Stephen closes with an announcement that he’s got word on a manufacturing domain-specific LLM on the way!
Episode 118: Ramia is back from her travels in Japan, and the tech friends pick her brain about the trip and her culinary experience. Stephen didn’t appreciate a clickbaity title from a NASA article. Elissa reports that NASA has a new Chief AI Officer.
Episode 117: Speaking of amusement parks last episode, the tech friends will be at MFG in Orlando this year for a live podcast! Ben gets into machine learning for robots. Elissa shares a new found excitement for robot vision ad object recognition.
Episode 116: The gang shares their love for amusement parks. Stephen is happy to announce that there are a lot of testbed updates. Elissa presents further evidence that Elon Musk is dumb. Ben closes with an allegedly new method of 3D printing.
Episode 115: The gang talks about dogs and other furry friends. Elissa reports that Japan’s about to land on the moon. Ben discusses stainless steel corrosion. Stephen closes with an “ICYMI” on everything we may have missed with the Boeing situation.
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