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AMT Tech Trends: Exoskin

Steve learns that the “MFG” in the MFG Meeting stands for “Manufacturing For Growth” and reports that smart glasses’ viability is still not quite there. Stephen announces that he will be experimenting with ChatGPT to determine if it can be employed ...
Feb 24, 2023

Episode 89: Steve learns that the “MFG” in the MFG Meeting stands for “Manufacturing For Growth” and reports that smart glasses’ viability is still not quite there. Stephen announces that he will be experimenting with ChatGPT to determine if it can be employed effectively as CAM software. Also, Steve will be attending the Silicon Valley Robotics (SVR) Robot Block Party on April 8th! Ben discusses the intersection of AI with additive manufacturing. Stephen introduces wearable soft-robotics as an alternative to exoskeletons, and then Steve closes with machining power.

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Produced by Ramia Lloyd


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 the Manufacturing for Growth Conference. I am the Director of Technology, Benjamin Moses, and I'm here with-

Stephen LaMarca: Is that what MFG means?

Benjamin Moses: Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca: Technology analyst Steve.

Benjamin Moses: Steve, welcome to '23, the year of smart glasses.

Stephen LaMarca: I'm triggered.

Benjamin Moses: Okay, so you've had smart glasses for a while, wearable technology over your eyes. You were an early adopter of-

Stephen LaMarca: I was. Well, I wasn't supposed to be but I was. And for the record, I'm pro smart glasses.

Benjamin Moses: Sure.

Stephen LaMarca: I want smart glasses, these wearables. I want wearables to be successful, I want wearables to work.

Benjamin Moses: I need you to differentiate. These aren't AR glasses these are smart glasses.

Stephen LaMarca: They're not AR glasses.

Benjamin Moses: Okay.

Stephen LaMarca: The companies that make smart glasses openly admit that these aren't what you think. Everybody who wants to ... Who has thought about "I want to buy smart glasses" pictures playing the game ACE Combat and wants a HUD with a whiskey mark to identify the heading as they're walking down the street and whatever. In the lower right-hand corner of the time, your ground speed, your altitude, stuff like that, that's awesome, that's really cool. Everybody's child mind that wants to buy smart glasses expects that and then are super disappointed when they find out that no smart glasses do that, not even the Google glass which was unsuccessful because you looked like a total geek wearing those.

Benjamin Moses: That's right.

Stephen LaMarca: But anyway. Yes, I want smart glasses as a wearable to succeed.

Benjamin Moses: Sure.

Stephen LaMarca: I want them to be successful. Long story short, they're not there yet. And I technically was an early adopter. I wasn't supposed to be. I bought my girlfriend now fiance a pair of Snapchat spectacles in either 2016 ... A long time ago.

Benjamin Moses: A long time ago.

Stephen LaMarca: The funny thing about it, she's maybe used them once or twice. I've used them. I bought them as a birthday present for her and I've definitely used them way more than she has.

Benjamin Moses: Which is a good gift strategy for your significant other.

Stephen LaMarca: But it's awful because Snapchat spectacles, they have two distinct styles. They have a men's style which look like Ray-Ban Wayfarers for shadowing. They've got these cat eye very feminine sunglasses.

Benjamin Moses: Which you did wear to the gun range once.

Stephen LaMarca: I have worn them to the gun range, I've worn them to a racetrack, I've worn them underneath my visor on my motorcycle helmet. I've worn them more often than I'd like to admit.

Benjamin Moses: Good.

Stephen LaMarca: Snapchat spectacles work pretty well. They don't work well anymore because our pair's from 2016 and it's old now.

Benjamin Moses: It's deprecated.

Stephen LaMarca: And like any wireless device ... Not wireless. Any mobile device, its battery will degrade over time. Anybody that's running a cell phone from 2016 or earlier today, you probably have 15 minutes of battery life from a full charge, that's just something that happens.

Benjamin Moses: Also, good for you. I'm envious.

Stephen LaMarca: And good for you. I don't mean to sound like I'm knocking you at all, but naturally, they don't have the best battery life anymore. Also, 2016 cameras, at least mobile device cameras, weren't the best.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: The resolution and image quality is acceptable but it's not the best. I did really like that the Snapchat spectacles camera ... And these were a camera glasses effectively. They didn't have a HUD, they weren't the smart glass Google Lens or whatever it was called. It was just something where you put on these glasses, they look like ... You think they look like sunglasses. But you hit a little button on them and they can record 10 seconds of video.

Benjamin Moses: That's cool.

Stephen LaMarca: Up to 30 seconds if you hit the button three times in a row. And if you hold it, it takes a picture, which sounds backwards but it's the way to do it.

Benjamin Moses: Sure.

Stephen LaMarca: That's all they did. And they had a six-axis IMU so if you tilted your head the image would stay upright. And if you tilted your phone the image would stay upright when you're viewing the video that you recorded. It was very cool. Ahead of its time. And quality tech. Snapchat actually did a really good job making those, or whoever they contracted to make them for Snapchat because it's a software company, it's a social media company. And frankly, they're deprecated these days but I still use them.

Fast-forward to earlier this year, I was like "I really like Melissa's Snapchat spectacles but they're old. I want higher resolution, and I want to see how far the tech has come, and I need a better battery." Shopping around, there's not many options you have for smart glasses. Also, I was weighing them against wearing a GoPro, looking like one of those clowns that straps a GoPro to their head or puts it on their helmet. Motorcyclists, by the way, can be pulled over for having a GoPro attached to your head. Apparently, it's against the law in several states, if not almost all states to mount anything to your helmet. You can be pulled over. It's one of those things that police won't really pull you over but it's something ... If they need to throw the book at you for whatever reason-

Benjamin Moses: They'll add it.

Stephen LaMarca: They'll add that on. I don't want to buy a $300 camera and then have to spend another $300 on mounts and stuff and experiment to see what works and ultimately find out and then ... We already have this amazing mounting hardware called glasses-

Benjamin Moses: And your ears.

Stephen LaMarca: And your ears. It's quick detached stuff for your Wearables, man. This is where I'm pro wearables. Anyway, bought These were things called Ray-Ban Stories. Ray-Ban's, the brand, owned by Luxottica. So Luxottica, an Italian company ... Foreshadowing. Is in charge of making the electronics in these glasses.

Benjamin Moses: That's unfortunate.

Stephen LaMarca: Italian electronics.

Benjamin Moses: Quite the contradiction.

Stephen LaMarca: And then they've partnered with Meta or Facebook. You get all these features. What are the added features on the Ray-Ban Stories compared to the Snapchat spectacle? Higher resolution, the frame rate's not as good so the refresh rate on the camera. Snapchat spectacles was like 60 frames per seconds.

Benjamin Moses: That's nice.

Stephen LaMarca: It was really good. Well, the Ray-Ban Stories is like 30 which is still-

Benjamin Moses: It's okay.

Stephen LaMarca: It's usable but it's lackluster. The Ray-Ban Stories added speakers so you could actually play music through your glasses which was cool.

Benjamin Moses: That's cool.

Stephen LaMarca: There was two cameras instead of one so you actually had depth perception in the image quality. Oh, they were voice-activated.

Benjamin Moses: That's handy.

Stephen LaMarca: If you wanted to keep your visor down theoretically. If you wanted to keep your visor down you had to say, "Hey Facebook start recording" which was-

Benjamin Moses: That's a terrible command.

Stephen LaMarca: I got judged a lot. "You're saying you still use Facebook."

Benjamin Moses: So on paper-

Stephen LaMarca: Okay, boomer.

Benjamin Moses: On paper, these are solid incremental changes for that device.

Stephen LaMarca: There are solid incremental changes. But the long story-

Benjamin Moses: Except for-

Stephen LaMarca: They broke within 10 days. They didn't break because I take care of my glasses, my sunglasses.

Benjamin Moses: They didn't physically break.

Stephen LaMarca: They didn't physically break but the foreshadowing from earlier, Italian electronics, they just didn't ... I pulled them out of their charging case, the light turns on and it just started blinking.

Benjamin Moses: Before we get to that-

Stephen LaMarca: And I did a hard reset and nothing happened. They didn't start.

Benjamin Moses: I do want you to mention the voice. In manufacturing and in most of the industry, there was a big push for voice activation, voice recognition. But tell me about your experience on the voice while you try to used your helmet.

Stephen LaMarca: Okay. The voice activation was clearly calibrated for not wearing a motorcycle helmet. Walking around the office, if you wanted to record something, "Hey Facebook start recording." I really hope this isn't on my app on my phone. Okay, I need to install that. Hey Facebook start recording. It would start recording the video. You could also do a software setting to change it from 30 seconds to 60 seconds. So on Snapchat spectacles, you had to hit the button three times if you wanted a 30-second video. You could actually set a default in fake meta view which was the app that controls it. Anyway, the voice activation worked when you weren't wearing a helmet.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: The first time I decided to test it on the motorcycle, on the bike, put my helmet on, hit the road, "Hey Facebook," nothing.

Benjamin Moses: Nothing.

Stephen LaMarca: And then I was like okay, we're returning a $400 thing. And I did a little bit more testing in the office like a nerd wearing my motorcycle helmet. I was like "How can we" ... Do these actually not work when you're wearing a motorcycle helmet? The visor has to be open all the way and I can't be moving for it to register hey Facebook. Which is annoying because if you're stopped with your visor open, just hit the button.

Benjamin Moses: That's true.

Stephen LaMarca: Don't let everybody know that you still have a Facebook account.

Benjamin Moses: To your point earlier, foreshadowing some of the other technology hurdles. The AI or machine learning stuff used to say, "Hey, Facebook record" at that level. Putting it on a helmet is an environment where that's not programmed, that's something that doesn't exist in the training tool.

Stephen LaMarca: Right.

Benjamin Moses: Stretching it outside its training environment is a big problem.

Stephen LaMarca: To be fair and to be nice, these glasses probably weren't calibrated to be used with a motorcycle helmet over them.

Benjamin Moses: Sure.

Stephen LaMarca: One last final grip before I get into the positives which is only one. The fit and finish was terrible. Because they were stuffing electronics into the arms of the glasses, each arm was a minimum of two pieces and it was a mold, it was injection molded plastic. Anyway. Mold lines on any plastic piece, if they're Notre not finished very well, which Ray-Bans are supposed to be made in Italy and hand polished, these clearly weren't. Because even though Luxottica is an Italian company, it did say made in China on them. The mold line, putting the glasses on, stabbed my temples every time.

Benjamin Moses: I bet. That's rough.

Stephen LaMarca: If you wore these every day and took them off and on however many times people take off and on their glasses, I'd probably have scarring at least on my right temple. I didn't notice it on my left, probably because I'm left-hand dominant and I put that arm first and then the right arm stabs my face. It was not smooth.

Benjamin Moses: That's unfortunate.

Stephen LaMarca: And it had a very sharp mold line on it.

Benjamin Moses: Before you go the positive, I'm still on the camp that wearables suck.

Stephen LaMarca: They do.

Benjamin Moses: I have a Fitbit.

Stephen LaMarca: There's so much potential.

Benjamin Moses: I know people have smartwatches it's just ... The one thing I needed to do, it's almost there, and it just doesn't get me all the way. And the fit and finish is never quite right compared to traditional equipment. It's close but it's for the early adopters that are trying to do something there. So I still wear a Fitbit to track my exercise, but other than that I'll never wear a wearable.

Stephen LaMarca: The innovators and the technology developers of these wearables are like "Oh my God, life can be made so" ... "The world can be made a better place if we put these sensors on humans and make their lives better." The trouble is you have to put technology on humans now and that's where everything goes wrong.

Benjamin Moses: Steve-

Stephen LaMarca: I'm pro wearables.

Benjamin Moses: Hit me on the positive and then we got to transition.

Stephen LaMarca: Okay. The positive. I ride my motorcycle in the day and at night, and I want to wear them at all times, I bought the pair with transitions lenses, photochromic lenses, metamaterial in the ink-

Benjamin Moses: So you're living in Paris.

Stephen LaMarca: In the dye that tint the lenses. So I was one of those nerds in public school growing up that came in from recess and their like "Wait a minute, you're wearing sunglasses." "Oh, no, they're my normal glasses they're just tinted right now."

Benjamin Moses: Give it a second.

Stephen LaMarca: They react really slowly so when you'd come in from, right, recess they'd like take two, three school periods before they'd clear up again. And if you go outside in the bright summer day or spring day, you'd be blinded by the sun, and then by the time the tint kicked in and by the time your pupils had reacted to being blinded by the sun, you couldn't see because they were way too dark and you were still recovering from being flash banged by the sun. But anyway. The metamaterials, the chemical reaction that's done by photochromic lenses has advanced. And engineers have, and scientists have made that dye much better, and it works much faster these days, and it can get clearer and darker.

Benjamin Moses: Nice.

Stephen LaMarca: I's come a long way and I'm totally sold on them.

Benjamin Moses: Side note. It's weird when you observe that line versus welding shields and how fast those react and how efficient those are.

Stephen LaMarca: Do they really?

Benjamin Moses: Oh, we'll talk about that another time.

Stephen LaMarca: Were those photochromic?

Benjamin Moses: We'll talk about that another time.

Stephen LaMarca: Because I've put on a welding mask before, and maybe it was just a cheap one, can't see a thing.

Benjamin Moses: So the high-

Stephen LaMarca: I get it, the things super bright, bright enough to blind you. If you smell toast it means you're going blind. It's supposed to protect you from that.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: But how do you even see what you're doing before you're doing it?

Benjamin Moses: So you always see the head flip which is the traditional style, right, so that's the static.

Stephen LaMarca: I'm not going to lie, it looks so cool when people do that. And you know they feel cool when they do it.

Benjamin Moses: Oh, yeah. But then if you look at the high-end shields, face masks, they're auto-tinting.

Stephen LaMarca: That's cool.

Benjamin Moses: Fun times. Steve-

Stephen LaMarca: Bless you welders.

Benjamin Moses: Tell me about today's sponsor.

Stephen LaMarca: Today's sponsor, the MFG Conference. Manufacturing continues to grow at a rapid rate, stay ahead of the curve at the MFG meeting this April. The MFG meeting is the ultimate gathering of manufacturing technology minds bringing together a community of solutions and solvers. Learn how to keep pace with growing demand, make lifelong connections, and see what opportunities lie on the horizon. Go to AMTonline.org/events to register.

Benjamin Moses: Thanks, Steve. Thanks, MFG.

Stephen LaMarca: I'll be there. What does MFG mean again?

Benjamin Moses: Manufacturing for growth.

Stephen LaMarca: That's it. Nobody knows that at am AMT I promise you.

Benjamin Moses: You put me on the spot there for a second.

Stephen LaMarca: Good job. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to.

Benjamin Moses: Testbed. You've got some stuff going on in testbed.

Stephen LaMarca: Bro. Okay. On April 8th, that's a Saturday, I'm going on business travel during the weekend. This is how much I love my job. To the Bay Area, Oakland I think for a robot block party. It's hosted by SVR, Silicon Valley Robotics, and they're having a block party with robots. I'm really excited to be going there because ... Number one for the research that AMT does on the latest manufacturing technology, and in this case robotic technology. But I'm also really excited because it's not often we at AMT ... And you and I have but the rest of our colleagues probably haven't.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: We're going there with a blank check because we want to buy a robot for the testbed which is why we're talking about this in the testbed topics.

Benjamin Moses: Well, easy with a blank check but yes, a check.

Stephen LaMarca: Okay, I love it. Okay. We got a little budget, and I mean little, but I'm still excited, maybe we'll buy something. I really hope we'll buy something.

Benjamin Moses: And the nice thing about that robot-

Stephen LaMarca: The last time we did this we went to Quality Show with the same budget and we were probably, in the best-case scenario, short of the cheapest thing by 2/3.

Benjamin Moses: One that was a disappointing show, but second one not being able to leave.

Stephen LaMarca: That's not nice.

Benjamin Moses: I'm sorry.

Stephen LaMarca: Quality Show's great.

Benjamin Moses: The show doesn't exist anymore.

Stephen LaMarca: It was great.

Benjamin Moses: RIP.

Stephen LaMarca: RIP.

Benjamin Moses: Obviously, We could see for our purposes to buy testbed equipment, but seeing the latest companies and latest ... Because they are based in Silicon Valley so you're going to see the intersection of the latest robotics, and the latest software, and-

Stephen LaMarca: Probably the big companies too-

Benjamin Moses: Oh, definitely.

Stephen LaMarca: That I can't afford. We can't afford.

Benjamin Moses: For an event itself, being able to go there for a day and see what ... And talk about the latest technology that are potentially coming up is a fantastic way to spend the weekend. So cool, I'm excited for that.

Stephen LaMarca: I'm really looking forward to that.

Benjamin Moses: Speaking of cutting a technology.

Stephen LaMarca: This trip is sponsored by the Quality Show, press X to pay your respects.

Benjamin Moses: ChatGPT.

Stephen LaMarca: ChatGPT, it's making waves. Naturally last week I decided you know what? I need to put up another LinkedIn post, why don't I try my hand at ChatGPT. Being the snarky technology analyst at AMT that I am, I decided to go to ChatGPT. I've seen so many Twitter posts. Well, people have shared with me so many Twitter posts of writing love poems to their significant other using ChatGPT, and then the spouse finds out that ChatGPT wrote it and they're like "I want a divorce. You had somebody else write this for you." ChatGPT, in a lot of cases, is becoming si or no. That'll please a lot of humanities nerds. We've got a pocket nc. Dear ChatGPT, write me a G-code program for a Pocket NC V2-10. Penta machine Pocket NC V2-10 with one inch diameter delrin bar stock and 3/4" end mill. Make me a part.

Benjamin Moses: Nice. Nothing wrong with asking that.

Stephen LaMarca: Nothing wrong with that. And its response was better than I anticipated.

Benjamin Moses: Tell me more.

Stephen LaMarca: I expected to get, here's a random program for a random part that you can make with what you gave me.

Benjamin Moses: A search result type thing.

Stephen LaMarca: And instead, because it's ChatGPT and it's conversational ... The reason why conversational works over open AI's playground is because ChatGPT is taking the AI a step further knowing that humans are dumb. And it's like if we work through this conversationally I can get you better results. It comes back to me it's like, based off the following information this is great and I'd love to make you a G-code program but I need some more information.

Benjamin Moses: Oh.

Stephen LaMarca: How big do you want your part? What part do you want? And it asked a few more questions.

Benjamin Moses: That's cool.

Stephen LaMarca: It was just really good. And immediately was like okay, I'm ending this conversation right now, taking a screenshot, I'm posting this on LinkedIn. And I'm like CAMGPT question mark. The feedback that I got from that post-

Benjamin Moses: And that's what we want to talk about, the feedback [inaudible 00:20:56].

Stephen LaMarca: The feedback was extreme and I appreciated it. I'll start with the positive feedback, the positive extreme. People were like "This is great. I hope you do a series of articles on this. I hope somebody actually tests this." And it was like "Dude, we've got a testbed, we've got a machine sitting idle. You can bet your bottom that we're going to have ChatGPT make us some G-code files." People are really want to see that. For the year, I've put everything else on hold and we're doing CAMGPT first.

Benjamin Moses: Great.

Stephen LaMarca: On the other side of the spectrum, they're like ... And I get they're not being necessarily negative but it's a little bit more critical in that they're like "Dude, I'm telling you, this is going to lead to some extreme machine tool crashes, I hope you're recording."

Benjamin Moses: They go straight to machine tool crashes.

Stephen LaMarca: While I feel that, I get that, it's like at the same time I get it, I don't have ... I've never been a professional machinist, I've never had to make a quota of parts to ship the next day or next week whatever. I've never had to ship anything physical. I don't have actual experience in the manufacturing industry as a machinist. But at the same time, I wasn't born yesterday. I know enough about the manufacturing workflow to know that even if a 15-year veteran or 20-year veteran, CAM engineer, hands a machinist a program like "These are the parts our customer wants, this is the program to make them. Run them. We need 100 parts by next week." They say something like that. The machinist isn't going to load stock material, the expensive stock material, and a brand new tool into the machine, upload the program, and hit go, and walk away.

Benjamin Moses: Correct.

Stephen LaMarca: Go for their smoke break, make some memes on Instagram. No, they're not going to do that. They're going to run it in a simulator first to make sure that the engineer wasn't smoking crack and then they're going ... Once the simulation looks good, and if it doesn't, it goes back to the engineer and then it falls on them. If something goes wrong, they don't deliver their parts, they don't want it to be on them so they're going to send that back to the engineer.

If it passes the simulation then they run an air cut. And while they're air cutting, you can bet your bottom that the machinist is hovering the E-stop the entire time, and maybe even slowing down the feed rate, doing a negative feed rate override, a spindle override, stuff like that during the air cut. Air cut passes, everything looked Gucci, then we put in some wax and a worn tool. That's as close to the specks of the tool that we need to use and we're going to cut a wax part. Make sure everything looks good. More importantly, make sure everything sounds good, and again, hover the E-stop the entire time. If that works then okay, we'll try our first part with a new tool, with the expensive material that the customer wants the part made out of. And if everything looks good deliver the parts.

Benjamin Moses: That's the interesting part of when you-

Stephen LaMarca: They think I don't know that.

Benjamin Moses: That's the interesting thing. Observing that conversation because I saw the LinkedIn post and it was fantastic. Seeing the conversation afterwards you see two diverse camps. And I think that represents where we are in the manufacturing space. People that understand the workflow that you walk through, it's all about risk reduction, right? You start with an idea, and the risk is I could break a quarter, half a million dollar machine. Yes, that's a valid risk, but how do I reduce that risk? On something we do day in and day out, you still have risk of crashing that machine. With still tons of gifs and memes of people crashing the machines because they didn't reduce risk.

Technology adoption is no difference. We have a risk of, hey, it's a new thing to get me an end state but how do I reduce that risk simulating and building your confidence to get there? It's interesting to see the decisiveness in the online posting of that. There is a risk of crashing the machine but that risk is everything, in everything they do. It was very fascinating to hear that argument.

Stephen LaMarca: Being a motorcyclist, I am not the most supportive of Tesla because there is a rampant issue of Tesla's crashing into motorcyclists because they didn't see them. This is a real thing.

Benjamin Moses: Oh, yeah.

Stephen LaMarca: But I still trust Tesla autopilot over the fanciest Mercedes-Benz with all of the safety features, and a six-axis IMU traction control, and cornering ABS, and all of this stuff. I still trust that more than some dingus driver who's on their phone.

Benjamin Moses: There's a lot of that, I agree.

Stephen LaMarca: Anyway. I'm more confident that I'm going to get a better program out of ChatGPT than myself, not a CAM engineer, by the way, using the quote easiest software ever to generate a manufacturing program. I'm sorry, it's easier for me to use ChatGPT than Fission 720 that's supposed to be super easy and it's like the easiest software ever. I have no idea what I'm doing.

Benjamin Moses: Steve, let's get into some articles. That was good. The first one I've got is interesting because it's THE intersection of AI and 3D printing. We're going to actually continue this conversation on these technologies a lot today.

Stephen LaMarca: This is great.

Benjamin Moses: This is from AZO.com.

Stephen LaMarca: Before you go on let me just say that I love how much the perception, society's perception of AI has changed in recent months.

Benjamin Moses: A month, a month.

Stephen LaMarca: Because last year everybody was throwing AI around as a buzzword. This new software uses AI. And now we actually know what AI is capable of. Does this really use AI or is this just some algorithm? Go on, I'm sorry.

Benjamin Moses: That's all right, that's all right. In the article they cover a lot of different scenarios where they're implementing artificial intelligence or machine learning or different mathematical codes to help either improve 3D printing or make 3D printing more accessible. Some of the themes they hit on were remote detection for false using AI. That I want to jump on in a little bit. The one I want to talk about right now real quick is AI-based printability checker. If you've got a farm or if I have one printer how do you know if it's going to work?

Everything I've seen on Reddit following hobby of sprinting, I understand how industrial sprinting works. People walking me through a scenario, there's a lot of simulations, there's a lot of risk reduction in that process. Hobby printing is like I got a boat I'm going to print it and then they just hope for the best. Reducing their risk in those environments I think is an interesting approach. What they're doing is being able to theorize the capability of the printing machine and what's needed from the object and matching based on that set. Basically, improving the thought process as this print will work. That's useful in most spaces.

The other one I wanted to hit on was ... Oh, actually I see it back here. The AI remote detection for false with AI. In situ printing. As you're printing a part, right, porosity is always a concern or thermal deviation is always a concern, or thermal compensation if you want to face it positively. As you're printing a part, being able to understand is it going to be a good part? What do I need to do in the machine as I'm printing to make sure I can reduce porosity or adjust the print direction so I can compensate for the thermal deviation? So I thought that was interesting when they talk about those two main scenarios where you ... 3D printing has come a long way, no doubt.

Stephen LaMarca: Oh, absolutely.

Benjamin Moses: On some scenarios it's hit production environment, it's still adding value. We've talked about why you want it, what part to choose. The operational efficiency for gas flows is a big one. 3D printing still has a ways to go where it can add value to most designs, but the gap to getting a good part over and over again and the qualification requirements. There's still hurdles to get there, right? A couple of these bullets that the article hits on helps reduce those risks and reduce the cost for entry for a lot of 3D-printed parts. I thought it was cool.

Stephen LaMarca: I agree with you. The only thing I disagree with what you said is 3D printing adding value to design, it's working backwards.

Benjamin Moses: Well-

Stephen LaMarca: Design is supposed to add value to 3D printing. That's why there's entire organizations for defam.

Benjamin Moses: Exactly.

Stephen LaMarca: But everything I heard did say, "None of this is possible without In situ metrology.

Benjamin Moses: 100%. We can get into that another other time.

Stephen LaMarca: I mean, we have so many times before.

Benjamin Moses: I want to hear your article on not exoskeletons, skins.

Stephen LaMarca: ExoSkins.

Benjamin Moses: ExoSkins.

Stephen LaMarca: Coming back to wearables.

Benjamin Moses: Not smart wearables just a wear ... Actually, I'm mistaken. We're talking about smart wearables here.

Stephen LaMarca: It's smart, I'd say it's smart. Tech Trends sent me this article ... Rather, I searched what's new today and I got this article Motorskins, which is the name of the company. The material that's changing people's lives.

Benjamin Moses: Cool.

Stephen LaMarca: It's like great. Okay, okay, another startup that thinks they can change the world. I don't know if they're a startup or not. Really I'm a fan of this technology. The website that posted this news, amazing name, it's called DesignWanted.com.

Benjamin Moses: That's cool.

Stephen LaMarca: I love that. Really long-winded article. Glad I used AI to summarize it for me. Anyway. Motorskins, the metamaterial that's changing people's lives.

Benjamin Moses: Cool.

Stephen LaMarca: Since we've talked about wearables and we've talked about metamaterial, this is a perfect segue. The lenses, transitions lenses, metamaterial for the wearables, the glasses. Anyway. I'm going to try to keep this short, but the Motorskins company is basically making a wearable wrap that delivers, or that produces exoskeleton performance.

Benjamin Moses: Cool.

Stephen LaMarca: So where we've seen in Aliens the power loader 5,000 by Caterpillar, and in real life, we've seen the Hilti exoskeletons for holding up heavy power tools for long periods of time without permanently damaging your body so you'll actually be able to lift your arms up when you're 80. Now, this Motorskins wants to do the ExoSkin performance for you but in a wrap, something that you wrap around or put on clothes.

Benjamin Moses: Sure. It's very close, it's not big bulky equipment, right?

Stephen LaMarca: And they're not focusing right now on increasing performance of a construction worker, they're focusing on helping people with disabilities or injuries.

Benjamin Moses: That's interesting.

Stephen LaMarca: Immediately what I thought of was how cool would it be ... It wouldn't be cool to break your arm, but if you got a broken arm or a sprained ankle and the doctor applies a splint to it. Instead of just holding everything in place so your body can heal, it holds everything in place and performs like nothing ever happened to you without having your muscles put any work forward. It replaces your muscles allowing your body to heal and bones to mend. And then once it's all done then you take the stuff off. But while it's healing, they're not stressed at all because the ExoSkin wrap is doing all of the work for you. It's an unbelievable concept. I don't know enough about how far along the technology is.

Benjamin Moses: Is it-

Stephen LaMarca: Listen, transitions came a long way and I'm super pro transitions right now.

Benjamin Moses: I do have two observations. I'm going to throw back to a video game called Clysis where-

Stephen LaMarca: Oh, geez.

Benjamin Moses: That looks exactly like the character. So if you ever played that game, we briefly talked about how that's still a benchmarking utility for-

Stephen LaMarca: When did that game come out?

Benjamin Moses: A billion years ago.

Stephen LaMarca: And computers still can't run. Maybe that's foreshadowing for this. I hope not. Motorskins please be successful.

Benjamin Moses: And the second part is ... I feel like this is a continuing discussion on soft robotics where it's ... You're energizing system through other means. I feel like this is a very interesting application where we're heavily focused ... All the companies you mentioned were heavily focused on the workforce, but there's a whole other group of temporary needs for those injured body parts. How do you keep someone functional during that time? To be fair, sitting on a couch sounds cool at first until you got that itch on your leg, and you're trying to scratch it with a ruler, and you got nowhere to go. Being able to stay mobile and say useful during an injured time is surprisingly beneficial.

Stephen LaMarca: Or until you realize that time sitting on the couch cutting into your paid time off. Stuff like that.

Benjamin Moses: Steve, question for you. We're running run a little bit long on time, I would like to skip my article on Future of Work Upskilling Workers until the next time.

Stephen LaMarca: I'm sorry.

Benjamin Moses: But I really want the energy you're going to bring to talk about your last article.

Stephen LaMarca: Okay. I'm really excited about this last article, and only you and I are going to be excited about it and we are about to lose all of our listeners. Goodbye now. But if you want to stay on good for you. My last article is from Canadian Metalworking.

Benjamin Moses: The best metalworking.

Stephen LaMarca: I love the Canadians. Don't necessarily agree with their politics but oh man I love them when it comes to manufacturing.

Benjamin Moses: Sure.

Stephen LaMarca: So Canadian Metalworking. How Much Machining Power Do You Need?

Benjamin Moses: A very good question.

Stephen LaMarca: It's the title of the article. Because immediately I thought well when we bought our testbed, when we bought the Pocket NC, I knew we didn't need a 5-axis machine but I wanted one. I thought we were going to talk about stuff like that. Click on the link, read the short article, the nice brief article, saw some physics equations, and I was like "Yes." And I didn't realize this was a thing.

Benjamin Moses: Oh, it's huge.

Stephen LaMarca: Okay. In the American manufacturing society, everybody's like you need to ... Everybody needs to strive for 80% OEE, Overall Equipment Efficiency. We really want 100% we want all of our machines 100% uptime, running all of the time, and at maximum spindle speed, max performance all the time. I never stopped to think about wait a minute, in a job shop or factory, if all of the machines, assuming they're all spindle CNC machines ... If all the machines are running at the same time with their spindle at 100% capacity and chip load, or machine load at 100% capacity, can the facility-

Benjamin Moses: Can we break out the fire grid?

Stephen LaMarca: Not just the facility. Can infrastructure actually handle that? Can a factory run at 100%, full 100%, without lying? Actually, running at 100% without destroying the power grid. Is this why Texas keeps losing power because people are actually trying this?

Benjamin Moses: So that is a very good question. So backing up a little bit. The Department of Energy does have a couple of manufacturing institutes looking at that problem specifically of the quantity of energy used by sectors. So manufacturing, obviously, it's one of the biggest ones that's consuming energy, so the global scale like you mentioned. If everyone's running max power at full power capacity, it's probably not the best condition. It depends on how the system was developed too and how old the facility is. But that's at the big level. We used to use form cutters a lot. And since you're cutting the full form you're pulling a full load on your machine. So being able to calculate how much of a load is required to cut, or horsepower required to cut that form versus the capability.

I remember when I was running a twin spindle once and we had reground cutters so it had more clearance in between the teeth to allow for better chip evacuation which is a big problem with the form cutters. I didn't do that the first time I was cutting ... Running the machine and I definitely overloaded the machine. I saw the power capability go 100%, 110%. My manager came over and said, "Ben, that's not good." Then we took a second, it's like oh, the chips weren't being evacuated they were clogging in the cutter. Once I put the regrounds in then it was 10, 15%. To your point of, at the detail level of how much power do I need to cut this form versus at the infrastructure level, there's a lot of questions on manufacturing energy usage.

Stephen LaMarca: Today, reading this article, I learned about the ... There's a thing called K-factor and how to calculate your K-factor. Enter your chip load, your spindle speed, your feed rate and you'll get a K-factor of the move, the pass that you're making on your part, and how much power is required for that. And it's just fascinating. And I think it's always nice being able to feel like I'm in school again even though don't ever send me back to school. Just being reacquainted with some physics equations felt really good.

Benjamin Moses: And I think the takeaway is, as some manufacturer are moving towards an independent power distribution ... So a couple of our members have solar panels on their machine so they've gone to independent electricity generation. They're not relying on the power grid they're relying on generating their own power. So for them to understand how much power I need, and how many solar panels do I need, how many batteries can I support, and things like that, I think as more manufacturers shift to turbines, water, or solar panels, energy consumption's going to be more of a topic in the US. Now in Europe, it's been discussed a long time because the cost of energy is so high.

Stephen LaMarca: Can we please have nuclear?

Benjamin Moses: I mean, I'd like it. Micro-grading, that's where everyone's going. Steve, that's a great way to end episode.

Stephen LaMarca: This was fun.

Benjamin Moses: Can you tell people how to find more info about us?

Stephen LaMarca: AMTonline.org/resources.

Benjamin Moses: Well done.

Stephen LaMarca: That's it, right?

Benjamin Moses: That's it.

Stephen LaMarca: I do this every time and I forgot today.

Benjamin Moses: Do you want me write it down for you?

Stephen LaMarca: No, no, I've just got equations on my mind right now-

Benjamin Moses: Nice.

Stephen LaMarca: Not URL.

Benjamin Moses: Bye, everyone.

Stephen LaMarca: Bye.

Benjamin Moses
Director, Technology
Recent technology News
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