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AMT Tech Trends: Hot Giardiniera

Ben and Steve are done with the fallout from hurricane Ian and are almost ready to welcome some snow. Benjamin is excited about a new aluminum alloy. Stephen talks about a high-speed extrusion head that can lay down a kilo of printed polymer per hour.
Oct 22, 2022

AMT Tech Trends: Episode 81: Ben and Steve are done with the fallout from hurricane Ian and are almost ready to welcome some snow. Benjamin is excited about a new aluminum alloy. Stephen talks about a high-speed extrusion head that can lay down a kilo of printed polymer per hour. Ben gets to the bottom of why industrial robotics is rising. Stephen discusses two more points he and Ben left out from the last episode.

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Transcript

Benjamin Moses:          Hello, everyone, welcome to the AMT Tech Trends Podcast where we discuss the latest manufacturing technology, research and news. I am the director of pizza and I'm here with-

Stephen LaMarca:         Chief of pizza test and inspection, Stephen LaMarca.

Benjamin Moses:          Steve, how you doing today?

Stephen LaMarca:         I'm doing great.

Benjamin Moses:          Awesome. We'll get to our sponsor in a little bit but today's episode is sponsored by AM Radio. We're coming up on winter. We're still in fall.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          Are you ready for snow?

Stephen LaMarca:         Instinctually and having been conditioned in my childhood, I'm always ready for snow. Snow always makes me happy. Well I can't explain it, I won't, I'll save you that long-winded story. My body loves seeing snow, I love the cold. I prefer the cold to the heat. 

Benjamin Moses:          Okay.

Stephen LaMarca:         As a motor enthusiast and a performance-vehicle enthusiast, I hate the snow. 

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         But it's a-

Benjamin Moses:          Right-

Stephen LaMarca:         ... new thing.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         Ever since I've got my dream car and I've had motorcycles-

Benjamin Moses:          Sure-

Stephen LaMarca:         ... now I dislike the snow. I like anything that sullies the integrity of road surface.

Benjamin Moses:          The only auto enthusiasts that like the snow are our Subaru owners.

Stephen LaMarca:         And Evo owners, RIP.

Benjamin Moses:          They don't exist anymore.

Stephen LaMarca:         They don't, they don't. Their transmissions certainly don't, womp, womp. 

Benjamin Moses:          Although-

Stephen LaMarca:         Unless it's the five-speeds.

Benjamin Moses:          Isn't the Focus all-wheel drive.

Stephen LaMarca:         The Focus RS is.

Benjamin Moses:          RS, yeah. 

Stephen LaMarca:         And-

Benjamin Moses:          That's hot-

Stephen LaMarca:         ... just like the Evo, went the way of the Ghost.

Benjamin Moses:          Oh, is it-

Stephen LaMarca:         Gave up the Ghost. Oh, yeah, they don't make that anymore, and they're certainly not going to make it in the U.S. anymore. 

Benjamin Moses:          No, no, no, I'm not talking about-

Stephen LaMarca:         Ford doesn't make cars.

Benjamin Moses:          A lot of zings today.

Stephen LaMarca:         No, but they've revamped, is it the ST and the RS version?

Benjamin Moses:          What's their ...

Stephen LaMarca:         Did they? Is their a new RS? I don't think there is a-

Benjamin Moses:          We need to move on-

Stephen LaMarca:         ... new RS-

Benjamin Moses:          I don't know. Speaking of [inaudible 00:02:10]-

Stephen LaMarca:         This will require some research. 

Benjamin Moses:          You're not a big fan of being underwater either.

Stephen LaMarca:         I am not a big fan of-

Benjamin Moses:          Hurricane Ian just came through. We're talking about-

Stephen LaMarca:         Oh, man, yeah. So okay, so speaking of weather-

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah-

Stephen LaMarca:         ... Hurricane Ian a while back tore through Florida. Okay, that sounds really mean, but I feel like hurricanes going through Florida separate the boys from the men, so to speak. Because you have all of the people who flock to Florida to evade taxes and it's a tax haven, or do something dumb like retire with climates that are good enough to preserve cigars. They're there not because they're natives.

Benjamin Moses:          Correct.

Stephen LaMarca:         But I know a handful of Florida natives who are born and raised and will never leave Florida. 

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         And don't have matching political views with Florida. And they hunker down and sure, their houses will take in a little bit of water-

Benjamin Moses:          Right-

Stephen LaMarca:         ... but they're prepared for it, they're insured for it, everything is fine. To them it's just a bad storm.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         Massacres and bad things only happen to people who already have too much money and they're there with their third vacation house, and "Oh, no, I lost your yacht." No, it wasn't a yacht, it didn't have a helicopter pad, you had a boat. 

Benjamin Moses:          That's your definition-

Stephen LaMarca:         You're-

Benjamin Moses:          ... of-

Stephen LaMarca:         ... okay. You're going to be fine. Now there are some people who can't afford housing, at least safe housing and don't have their eggs in order. And I feel terrible for them.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         And I hope everything is going to be, was okay after all of that. But anyway, let's bring this back up to a better mood. Hurricane Ian moved up north, moved inland, as it always does. And it came up the coast, and I had a week of vacation, a week after IMTS, because we all needed to recover from that one. It was great to be back in the saddle, but after 40 years of not having an IMTS, man, I was not expected to be as pooped as I was.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         We went over this last episode. Anyway, I took the week off, not immediately after IMTS, because I knew I would be drained, but the week after. And I thought, "Man, the weather is going to be great. It's finally getting cool. I am going to ride my motorcycle the entire week." I did not, I did none of it. And by the time I finally had energy-

Benjamin Moses:          Right-

Stephen LaMarca:         ... I was no longer exhausted and ready to ride-

Benjamin Moses:          Yep-

Stephen LaMarca:         ... Ian was there. So anyway-

Benjamin Moses:          You have two strikes against you.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yes. Ian finally kept going north and the beautiful road surfaces have finally dried up. And yesterday it was still rainy, but now it's a beautiful day. And I made the mistake of going home yesterday, taking a long nap on the couch, and I woke up with a terrible back and neck. So, I've been taking it easy today and I haven't been able to get as many miles as I want. So yeah, that's the weather screwing everything up for you.

Benjamin Moses:          Between the weather and your age, things are not looking good.

Stephen LaMarca:         No, they're really not.

Benjamin Moses:          Speaking of which, though, coming back from Chicago-

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah-

Benjamin Moses:          ... pizza.

Stephen LaMarca:         Pizza.

Benjamin Moses:          So I've been thinking about making my own dough. I make my own pasta dough-

Stephen LaMarca:         Yes-

Benjamin Moses:          Dipa and Amelia make their own bread. I haven't gotten into that scene just yet.

Stephen LaMarca:         You guys are a model family. I love that your entire family is involved in the cooking.

Benjamin Moses:          It's fun.

Stephen LaMarca:         Including Amelia, that's adorable.

Benjamin Moses:          She loves kneading dough.

Stephen LaMarca:         That's awesome. I get that.

Benjamin Moses:          The next thing we have been thinking about is making our own pizza crust, pizza dough-

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah-

Benjamin Moses:          ... which is fairly straightforward. But-

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah-

Benjamin Moses:          As a short-

Stephen LaMarca:         You don't want to overwork it.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah, that's fair, you don't want to overwork it. But as a short-term fix, I've been experimenting a different type of crust. So I've been using non as a pizza crust or a pizza dough.

Stephen LaMarca:         Right.

Benjamin Moses:          So just precook non, put some cheese on it, just slap that in the oven. And luckily, just cook it just enough so it cooks the toppings. And it's a good substitute-

Stephen LaMarca:         Okay-

Benjamin Moses:          It's fantastic. I recommend-

Stephen LaMarca:         I bet-

Benjamin Moses:          [inaudible 00:06:32]. And it's the perfect size, that one single-size don for one person. 

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          Best pizza that you can make at home.

Stephen LaMarca:         During the pandemic, there was a certain sports-news outlet, very opinionated sports-news outlet that goes by Barstool Sports. And their CEO, Nate Portnoy, during the pandemic, did an amazing one-bite pizza reviews. And he had some beef with a small pizza company. Well, they're actually huge, they're owned by Nestle-

Benjamin Moses:          Sure-

Stephen LaMarca:         ... so they are food. And he had beef with a pizza company called Jack's because they refused to send him a free pizza to review. He gave them the lowest score. 

Benjamin Moses:          Of course.

Stephen LaMarca:         He gave them the absolute lowest score.

Benjamin Moses:          Of course.

Stephen LaMarca:         And also I don't think he cooked it right, either, because he made it look really non-appealing.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         Anyway it was such a bad review that during the pandemic I bought one. It's the cheapest pizza you can get out there. And you can get it at gas stations. Jack's pizza, it's $2.50 for a pizza. The ingredients were nothing to write home about but they weren't bad. But I was actually fascinated because to your point of experimenting with pizza crusts, it was like somebody made pizza on a large Table Water cracker, one of those fancy charcuterie board crackers that have no flavor whatsoever. It was like that.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         And the upside to it was, you look at the packaging or lack thereof, and the nutrition facts, you could crush the entire pizza. It's only five, six-hundred calories. 

Benjamin Moses:          The whole pizza.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          That's not bad.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah. There is no guilt associated with it. 

Benjamin Moses:          So pizza is-

Stephen LaMarca:         Other than your money going to Nestle.

Benjamin Moses:          And you're buying it at a gas station.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          So we got another thing we wanted to talk about. One was some online media content that you wanted to talk about, or do you want to save that for another time?

Stephen LaMarca:         All right. Can I keep talking about pizza first?

Benjamin Moses:          Let's end this topic on pizza and save the other one for later.

Stephen LaMarca:         Okay, all right, I'll save it. So anyway, we're past IMTS. The dust is still settling, even though I said it was the last time. But we're past IMTS. And I had an awful experience, not with the pizza, but at the actual restaurant, Lou Malnati's. And I was complaining pretty hard during IMTS. And it must have gotten around. But anyway, earlier this week, on Tuesday, I was over in the exhibitions department at our AMT headquarters. And we're talking about the Chicago pizza, and I start getting the craving again. 

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         So I just pulled my phone out right there while talking to all these people, went under Lou Malnati's, clicked on the button for Ship Me A Pizza. And I threw in an order for two pies. I wanted a sausage pie and I had just seen an advertisement for a new collaboration that they're doing of Portillo's, they get an Italian beef. And you get the Italian beef with sweet peppers or hot peppers. I wanted a hot peppers.

Benjamin Moses:          Good call.

Stephen LaMarca:         So I got those two pies, the sausage and the Portillo's pizza. Allison is right there, I'm about to click Check Out. I whipped out my wallet and my credit card right there.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         Allison is like, "Hey, I want to get in on that. Get me the same ones you got. I want a sausage and a hot Portillo's." So without thinking I just clicked, plus one, on the quantity. So I just got two two-packs. 

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         The total came to about 150 bucks.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         And later after the order was confirmed, I go back on the website. I'm like, "Wait a minute, is it cheaper if I had bought a four-pack?" And I go on there, sure enough, it's about $40 cheaper.

Benjamin Moses:          That's a big difference.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah, no lie. Dude, this pizza is expensive, man. So I called, because there is no option.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         I created a profile and everything. There is no option to click Refund or anything like that. They give you a phone number.

Benjamin Moses:          Okay.

Stephen LaMarca:         I'm like, "Great, I'm going to have to wait again. I thought the waiting was over." Because I waited four hours in Chicago for my Lou Malnati's. I'm not going to wait again. I go on the phone, they put me on hold and they're like, "Hey, we're taking care of other customers in line first. We'll get around to you but if you don't want to wait on hold, press this number and we'll call you back at your phone number when somebody is available." And I did that.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         Half hour later, sure enough, it worked. I explained the situation I just explained here to the lady. She's like, "Yeah, I can't do that right now. And you won't see results right away, but everything will be resolved in 24 hours."

Benjamin Moses:          Nice.

Stephen LaMarca:         So I just took the lady's word for it-

Benjamin Moses:          Sure-

Stephen LaMarca:         ... was like, "Thank you so much," click. Ordered the new four-pack assuming that the last one was going to be refunded. Fast forward to today, well actually just 45 minutes ago, no joke, I checked my bank account, I was refunded the $150-

Benjamin Moses:          Good-

Stephen LaMarca:         ... for the initial order. 

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         I go on Lou Malnati's website to check on the status of the orders because I got another notification that I got two packages at my apartment. 

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         The front desk notified me, "You got two packages, we put them in the fridge. Come pick them up when you can." And so I'm like, "Two packages? It shouldn't be two." 

Benjamin Moses:          That's-

Stephen LaMarca:         Go on the Lou Malnati's website and log into my account. 

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         I see the most recent order, the four-pack, confirmed, shipped. And I look at the older order, confirmed, refunded, shipped. I check my bank account again. They did refund me.

Benjamin Moses:          Right-

Stephen LaMarca:         I've only-

Benjamin Moses:          ... right-

Stephen LaMarca:         ... paid $110, split two ways with Allison.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep. So do you think you got-

Stephen LaMarca:         I think they shipped me two packages. I have since messaged my girlfriend to go pick up the pizzas at the front desk to verify. And I have a feeling we've got eight pizzas waiting for us. So Allison and I have hit the jackpot and Melissa is about to call me to let me know that, "Hey, we've got eight pizzas on call, ready for us." 

Benjamin Moses:          That's a lot of pizzas.

Stephen LaMarca:         So, hey, I guess they must have heard all of the complaining at IMTS and they were like, "Hey, we're going to make this right."

Benjamin Moses:          So I definitely want to know how long it took you to get through four pizzas.

Stephen LaMarca:         When the time comes?

Benjamin Moses:          When the time comes. Let me know after. Let the audience-

Stephen LaMarca:         You got it-

Benjamin Moses:          ... know-

Stephen LaMarca:         You got it-

Benjamin Moses:          ... what was your length of period to crush four pizzas.

Stephen LaMarca:         You'd be surprised.

Benjamin Moses:          No, no. I won't be-

Stephen LaMarca:         Melissa and I-

Benjamin Moses:          I won't be surprised.

Stephen LaMarca:         We can go through some pizza.

Benjamin Moses:          I know.

Stephen LaMarca:         Every now and then we'll have Sean over. Then we really burn through pizza.

Benjamin Moses:          If it's a gaming night I'm sure it will be good. Steve, can you tell us about our sponsor today?

Stephen LaMarca:         Our sponsor today is AM Radio. AM Radio is the new podcast from Additive Manufacturing Media. Join editors Pete Zelinski, Stephanie Hendrixson and Julia Hider as they share stories of companies succeeding with 3D printing today, talk about emerging trends, and discuss the future opportunities and potential for AM in the context of the larger manufacturing landscape, that's important. New episodes are published every other week. Subscribe now on Apple or wherever you listen to podcasts. Tune in to Additive.

Benjamin Moses:          Thanks, Steve.

Stephen LaMarca:         Thanks, AM Radio.

Benjamin Moses:          The first article I have is, the core of it is actually from your friends at Oak Ridge National Labs.

Stephen LaMarca:         I love ORNL.

Benjamin Moses:          So we got a article from Federal News Network, which is our high-quality source.

Stephen LaMarca:         Who?

Benjamin Moses:          Federal News Network.

Stephen LaMarca:         Federal News Network, FNN.

Benjamin Moses:          Which is fair because they are a federally funded entity.

Stephen LaMarca:         That's a real thing?

Benjamin Moses:          With News Network?

Stephen LaMarca:         The FNN?

Benjamin Moses:          Yes.

Stephen LaMarca:         Federal News Network. I didn't even know that was a real thing.

Benjamin Moses:          I think it's a website. So they are talking about a new material that Oak Ridge helped develop. 

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          And it's interesting, they developed a new-

Stephen LaMarca:         I love new materials-

Benjamin Moses:          ... a new type of aluminum. Which, on the surface you're like, "Why would I develop a new type of aluminum?" 

Stephen LaMarca:         Oh, I thought you said it was a new type of steel.

Benjamin Moses:          I made a mistake earlier. 

Stephen LaMarca:         Okay.

Benjamin Moses:          [inaudible 00:14:38]. 

Stephen LaMarca:         A new type of aluminum.

Benjamin Moses:          A new type of aluminum. It's called DuAluminum 3D.

Stephen LaMarca:         Dual aluminum?

Benjamin Moses:          No, D-U- alum.

Stephen LaMarca:         DuAluminum-

Benjamin Moses:          3D.

Stephen LaMarca:         Okay.

Benjamin Moses:          So, what they're trying to do is everyone is shifting towards increasing efficiency and performance. So we are seeing heavier cards, but we are seeing a shift in the lower threshold of power. The hyper cars nowadays-

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah-

Benjamin Moses:          ... easily crushing 2000 horsepower which is unheard of 10 years ago.

Stephen LaMarca:         And it's unneeded.

Benjamin Moses:          Unneeded, yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         But don't get me wrong, we all have that inner little kid that's like, "See how much power we can stuff in it." 

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         But then you get older and if you're an enthusiast and you get older and you realize, 300 to 450 is really that perfect range.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah. But the ability for cars to make over 1000 horsepower, remember the Bugatti, well the earlier ones, would do 1000 to 1 of-

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah-

Benjamin Moses:          ... horsepower. But now every other company has something that's above 1000 horsepower. So there's that side of it but also on the efficiency side, just reduce weight. That'll get you-

Stephen LaMarca:         Right-

Benjamin Moses:          ... increased efficiency, increase performance.

Stephen LaMarca:         Colin Chapman.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         Colin Chapman, he said, "Increasing power will only make you faster in the straights. Reducing weight makes you faster everywhere."

Benjamin Moses:          Everywhere.

Stephen LaMarca:         Words to-

Benjamin Moses:          True-

Stephen LaMarca:         ... live by-

Benjamin Moses:          ... words-

Stephen LaMarca:         .... man.

Benjamin Moses:          That's true. Maybe that's the next quote for the-

Stephen LaMarca:         I've already used it. It was episode one.

Benjamin Moses:          And so what they're trying to do is mainly for automotive and aerospace, just cost of weight reduction. So they're looking at two angles, aluminum's use extensively in those two fields. All right, so what they're trying to do is if it's used and if they're trying to use it for 3D printing. 

                                    So that's where their little nuance is right here. It's this material is specifically geared towards 3D printing aluminum. So that's the problem that they're trying to solve is, anything that is 3D printed out of aluminum currently, let's improve their strength and corrosion resistance so they can get more performance out of that. 

Stephen LaMarca:         Right.

Benjamin Moses:          So they don't have to shift to a higher strength material. So the concern is aluminum at higher temperatures. Which aluminum, most materials at room temperature is fantastic. You could go for a variety. But soon as you start elevating that temperature the strength drops off pretty quickly. So they're trying to extend that life.

Stephen LaMarca:         It starts to flex as it warms up.

Benjamin Moses:          Exactly.

Stephen LaMarca:         Which is, as you'd imagine, is a problem when your suspension already varies as it warms up. And tires and brakes, they're at peak performance when they're hot so you don't need other stuff dropping off in performances-

Benjamin Moses:          Exactly-

Stephen LaMarca:         ... when it's hot. That's too many variables.

Benjamin Moses:          So there's a lot of companies. So with Additive and with high-performance computing there is a drive to get more and more materials out.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          So why is it so interesting? In the end, to actually get from an idea to production run of a new material, previously you were talking 10 to 20 years.

Stephen LaMarca:         Right.

Benjamin Moses:          You have to get into mill runs, you have got to do a lot of iterative testing on getting the composition correct. And this one is a heavily alloyed material, so it's tons of different types of elements in there. 

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          But what they're able to do is get the full-scale prototype in about 33 months. So just over a couple of years they're able to get from idea to a prototype while using-

Stephen LaMarca:         That's impressive-

Benjamin Moses:          ... production means in about 33 months. So I thought that was a very interesting look at their use of material scientists plus the national lab's ability. So they have X-rays, the have got really high-end equipment that they don't have to get in line to use. 

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          So they produce a lot, do some cross section, get some material-science analysis on their actual material self and they'll keep iterating quickly.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah. That's very interesting, I'm glad you mentioned that because number one, material science always fascinates me and I love hearing about the latest alloys. But number two, I have noticed, being a gear head, that you look back in history, in the '70s. Just look at motorcycles, you look at the '70s and '80s. Well up until the '80s, motorcycle frames were all high-tensile tube steel. Well maybe not high-tensile, but tubular steel frames and a lot of these tube steel frames were really beautiful, like the Ducati's trellis frames that they used. The Japanese motorcycles, as brilliant as they are, not so much pretty looking. But the Japanese were, I think, the first to use extruded aluminum Twin-Spar aluminum frames. And it was super high-end and high-performance. It was race bike technology you could buy as an American citizen without needing to worry about it being road legal, and it's only gotten better. 

                                    You look at those old aluminum Twin-Spar frames from the '80s, they just look like aluminum extrusion beams that are just bent around, but still looks like they're only formed on one axis or on one plane. The new ones, well the more modern ones actually look shaped, look like they're to cradle an engine and that engine is a stressed member, it's part of the frame, not just an engine, which is really cool. But even Ducati themselves, for decades, have had the most beautiful, tubular steel frames. Everybody loves the trellis frame of the vintage Ducati Monsters. Ducati doesn't use trellis frames anymore. I don't think they've went to aluminum but I think they've went to carbon frames-

Benjamin Moses:          Okay-

Stephen LaMarca:         ... now.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         But a lot of people were up in arms. But a lot of other Japanese companies who used to have aluminum Twin-Spar frames have come back to high-tensile tube steel trellis-

Benjamin Moses:          Wow-

Stephen LaMarca:         ... frames-

Benjamin Moses:          ... that's fascinating.

Stephen LaMarca:         So I have no idea what's going on but there is a lot going on with the aluminum alloys and for frame stuff like this. So it's related, and hopefully more articles like this from ORNL can give me some insight into what the heck is going on with my hobbies.

Benjamin Moses:          Your hobbies are in question today. Steve, let's get into an article about high-volume printing.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          Are we ready? So let's piggyback off that.

Stephen LaMarca:         So high-volume printing is nothing new.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         It's still exotic. It's still really cool, just as additive manufacturing is. We got to see at IMTS, a lot of companies bragging how much material they can throw down onto a part in an hour, and it's very impressive. Now, of course there is the trade-off of you can either put down material fast and have a low-surface finish or you can put it down slow and have a fine-surface finish but it would take forever.

Benjamin Moses:          Right. 

Stephen LaMarca:         A lot of this stuff is usually industry shop talk and doesn't ever really reflect towards consumers. However, in the 3Dprintingindustry.com, Vita 3D unveils a new high-flow extruder. And this is a extruder for consumer 3D printing. It can be used in industrial because it's quality enough, but typically we're talking plastic filaments. That's typically a consumer or prosumer-market 3D printer, using fused filament fabrication systems, so plastic filaments or polymer filaments going through an extruder. But this new extruder that you can put on your home 3D printer, over 1 kilogram of filament per hour. That's a lot of plastic-

Benjamin Moses:          That's a lot of-

Stephen LaMarca:         ... in an hour. 

Benjamin Moses:          That's a lot of plastic.

Stephen LaMarca:         But one kilo, bro, 2.2 pounds-

Benjamin Moses:          2.2 pounds-

Stephen LaMarca:         ... in an hour. I remember when I was in middle school, the last time I set foot in a weightlifting gym. My gym teacher said to me, "Now listen, everybody pick up one of them 3-pound weights." And you pick it up and it feels like nothing. It's substantial.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure, sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         But he was like, "This 3-pound weight, it feels light, right? It's still enough, dropped from chest height, to break your big toe, so be careful in here."

Benjamin Moses:          You want to protect your big toe. 

Stephen LaMarca:         And so I'm reading this article and it's like, "This thing is printing almost enough plastic to break your big toe."

Benjamin Moses:          That's interesting. I appreciate the comparison to something I can relate to. 

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah, dude, I love unit conversions.

Benjamin Moses:          And it is fun on the consumer level. So I've been doing experimenting printing at the maker's base in our library.

Stephen LaMarca:         Right-

Benjamin Moses:          And it's funny-

Stephen LaMarca:         ... your public library.

Benjamin Moses:          Public library, which is back to the earlier episodes-

Stephen LaMarca:         That's so cool-

Benjamin Moses:          ... my favorite place to go. So, actually if they're able to go into the library-

Stephen LaMarca:         Nice-

Benjamin Moses:          ... to get some new books. Actually I may pop in the maker's space, too, and see what other equipment they have.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah, definitely do that.

Benjamin Moses:          I'll see if they can get in on a little Penta machine down there.

Stephen LaMarca:         Get them in on one?

Benjamin Moses:          On a little-

Stephen LaMarca:         They're so easy to use now-

Benjamin Moses:          ... little pocket NC.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah. Oh, but able to print high volumes is really fascinating. So the little stuff that I did was just some trinkets. But being able to print larger sizes and something that's a little more functional, shifting from consumer stuff that's kind of cool to more functional prints, and that's one of the cool [inaudible 00:24:29] on 3D printing, people can print cap replacements or stuff that's hard to find, but still functional. If the windshield wiper fluid cap breaks on your car, things like that are actually really difficult to find-

Benjamin Moses:          Yes-

Stephen LaMarca:         ... sometimes.

Benjamin Moses:          Yes.

Stephen LaMarca:         So being able to model something up and then print-

Benjamin Moses:          Model-

Stephen LaMarca:         ... it-

Benjamin Moses:          ... and print it, just don't tell Honda. They're the only ones with a problem with it.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah, that's the only ones with a problem. But being able to do stuff like that, which is matching the Department of Defense strategy, which is funny, because being able to print replacement parts or print at use. So I wouldn't say we're all doing the same thing, but being able to print-

Benjamin Moses:          That's a good point-

Stephen LaMarca:         ... do functional prints is fascinating.

Benjamin Moses:          We picked on the early additive manufacturing efforts on the Department of Defense for printing a T-handle tool to adjust the front sight post of an M249 Squad Automatic weapon, but at least they're not Honda, good for them.

Stephen LaMarca:         At least they're trying.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah. I'm going to skip over one of these articles and jump to this last one here, about how to survive and thrive in manufacturing in the 2020s. We'll get to the source in a little bit but they talk about a couple of key elements here. And we'll post a link in the show notes, too. 

                                    They have one, two, three, four main areas. Taking a step back, it's not just manufacturing but it's the running a business. But I think these are fairly important. So the first one they talk about is nurturing a team and talent. So with COVID and all the issues we've had with work force, finding people, so being able to bring in talent and get them to something highly productive and efficient, I think that's a very valid argument. 

                                    So they talk about different training programs, apprenticeship, working with other companies and entities to help develop training programs. So we work in an office but we also see that coming out of college, or even out of high school, you have one set of skills but the company needs another. How do you bridge that gap in the skills force?

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah. I learned that the hard way.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah, everyone did.

Stephen LaMarca:         I tell that story all the time. I wish I had interned a while in college.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah, absolutely.

Stephen LaMarca:         To be fair to my advisors and my professors, when somebody goes into the physics focus of studies, they usually anticipate on you going further into getting a master's or a PhD.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure, sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         Nobody really leaves with a Bachelors of Physics and just expects to get a job. 

Benjamin Moses:          Yep, yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         So they didn't tell me-

Benjamin Moses:          They don't tell you that-

Stephen LaMarca:         ... to get an internship, so I'm not blaming them at all.

Benjamin Moses:          And one advisor that I actually asked to have removed and I went to a different advisor, I wasn't doing that well in school, but to be honest, getting a degree in aerospace engineering, not the easiest thing to do.

Stephen LaMarca:         Right.

Benjamin Moses:          So I think it was my-

Stephen LaMarca:         And you were doing rocket science.

Benjamin Moses:          I think it was my sophomore year and I was working at that time, working part-time and the advisor was like, "So are you working?" And I was like, "Yeah, I got to pay for the college somehow." It was like, "Your grades aren't that good. Maybe you should cut back on working." I was like, "I can't do both here. I can't do one or the other here. I'm doing one to support the other." It was like, "This advisor is not good for me. Get out of here." So I had to find another advisor.

Stephen LaMarca:         At least you had that excuse, though. I seriously wish somebody had told me to intern. My reason for bad grades was just video games, so good for you. That's why you're the director.

Benjamin Moses:          So the next one they talk about is use technology to make technology. Which is click bait at best. But some of the sub-context they talk about in the article, it's fairly useful. So they talk about automation, Are You Using Automation? So it's a shift from relying on human power for everything to allowing technology to scale the business. So the title is interesting but the idea of using, especially nowadays how we talked about the ease of implementation in the last episode and ease of use, so being able to leverage bringing in new technology quickly to get to a higher scale in the future, I think that's a very valid point. We talk about not only the physical automation but the digital side of things, too. So leveraging automatic or a collection of data right away and getting to dash boards, getting to decision making very quickly. But the idea is, there's a lot of cool technology out there and how are we using it to improve your business? 

                                    And they also talk about digital transformation across the board and we're in a office. But it could easily transform finance, human resources, how we do training. So it's not just the idea of drawing data, it's the idea of your connected systems and there's a lot better tools out there now. I thought that was very cool.

Stephen LaMarca:         I think that's a really good article and I like how it opened right off the gate in a sensitive subject-

Benjamin Moses:          Yep-

Stephen LaMarca:         ... but it didn't linger there-

Benjamin Moses:          No, no, no-

Stephen LaMarca:         ... it brought up other good points. Because I want to go back and touch on that part about nurturing teams and talent. 

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         We've seen a lot over the past year or two, especially in the pandemic. I'm tired of bringing up the pandemic but we saw all the nonsense about these executive management terms that have been invented to just make people click on the articles.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         The Great Resignation.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         The next one after that was A Quiet Quitting, and the newest one is Loud Laborers. 

Benjamin Moses:          Oh, that's a new one.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          [inaudible 00:30:06].

Stephen LaMarca:         Somebody here shared an article on our general Slack channel. 

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         And it's just like The Great Resignation, Quiet Quitting, Loud Laborers, and it's all putting the blame on the employees.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         We've got three brand new terms invented in the last year for talking smack. When you finish wiping your tears away with your $100 bills, maybe you should look in the mirror and be like, "Could it be the management?" 

Benjamin Moses:          We need a new term for crappy executives, is that what you're saying?

Stephen LaMarca:         Oh, yeah. We need to uphold and bolster the good ones. 

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah, absolutely.

Stephen LaMarca:         Because they need that-a-boys, too. 

Benjamin Moses:          They do, they do. And if I hear another person complaining about people turning on their cameras on calls, that's enough.

Stephen LaMarca:         Man, oof. Ben, I've never gotten that kind of spice from you before. I love this.

Benjamin Moses:          Let's get into the last two that I have here, so evolving partnerships, so other than nurturing teams. So-

Stephen LaMarca:         Oh, man, I thought that you were done.

Benjamin Moses:          That's cool. We got two more quick things, so evolving partnerships. So manufacturers working with other organizations, so working with universities, working with vocational schools, working with Oak Ridge National Labs, working with MEPs, so the idea that companies have to do it on their own is completely false. All right, so there is other avenues for them to either develop new technologies, improve their businesses. We're working with Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech works with their local MEP called GenEdge, where companies can put in projects to say, "We want to improve our business. This is the thing we need Virginia Tech to help me solve." And they have undergrads that will help you execute a project now. 

                                    You're trying to teach undergrads and they're trying to solve your problem. So not everything is going to get solved right away, but you pay $5000 for a years worth of work, that's a deal right there, right? So-

Stephen LaMarca:         Right-

Benjamin Moses:          ... the evolving of partnerships, I think, is severely underrated. And it does take effort to manage that. But the idea that you can leverage people outside your company to help improve your business, I think, is underrated.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          And the last thing, Steve, that I want to talk about, it's back to the COVID and the ability. So a single profile or a portfolio for your business, or a single anything, I think it's gone. The idea of you produce only stuff for oil and gas, or you have this one type of employee, that's gone. So the idea of agile is everything, I think that's a great way that article ends, is that I think going forward, companies that are not flexible to shift to changes in the marketplace or shift to work force issues, or shift to technology as things develop, those companies will go by the wayside pretty quickly. 

Stephen LaMarca:         Right, right. You talk to any new employee, they know this, new employees know this. When you're job hunting do you start interviewing with just one company and just like, "All right, this is it. We've got the interview"?

Benjamin Moses:          Exactly.

Stephen LaMarca:         No, you don't put all your eggs into one basket, you need that agility.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         And let's say that interview, even though it's just your only one, let's say it does go far, don't you want a bargaining chip to say like, "Well this employer, this potential employer is offering me this much"? 

Benjamin Moses:          That's right.

Stephen LaMarca:         You want that bargaining chip.

Benjamin Moses:          You want to see what's out there.

Stephen LaMarca:         And if they tell you to go pound sand it's like, "All right, I'll go pound sand at the other interview." Your agility is everything.

Benjamin Moses:          Exactly. And on that note, Steve, that was a great-

Stephen LaMarca:         Too many comfy managers.

Benjamin Moses:          What else we got? Is that everything?

Stephen LaMarca:         We've gone long. We've got a good heat level here.

Benjamin Moses:          Just the right amount of boil.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yes, yes.

Benjamin Moses:          Where can they find more info about us?

Stephen LaMarca:         AMTonline.org/resources.

Benjamin Moses:          Thanks, Steve.

Stephen LaMarca:         Bye everybody.

Benjamin Moses:          Bye.

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Benjamin Moses
Director, Technology
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