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Click here to register for the 2012 Conference!

Workshop Sessions

Come ready to learn, explore and participate in a number of topics in Technology/Craft, Business Management, Career and Vendor Product offerings. No need to sign up in advance, simply attend the ones you want. Some sessions will be offered more than once.


Models in Miniature - Nearly all model builders have a lifelong love of small things and details in common. Where William R. Robertson, an internationally renowned miniature artist, is a little different is that he uses tools and techniques that date from centuries past. Instead of commercial models, William copies decorative arts objects and scientific instruments – in miniature! Some of the items to be shared are a mid 17th-century Wassail bowl only 1” in diameter turned on Cartier’s rose engine, a 2” tall working microscope machined from 24K gold containing more than a hundred parts and furniture fully dovetailed with working locks, a miniature tool chest, and other astoundingly tiny projects.

Materials for Molding - Stephen Speidel of LSI Solutions and Bob Harmony of Harmony Studio present a workshop on making the right choices for RTV molding and casting materials based on mold and part size, complexity, performance requirements, cure times, cost and other criteria.  Find out about methods to ensure complete cures and bubble-free parts.  Various methods of tinting and coloring molded parts will be covered.  Your input is welcome and there will be time for your questions.

RaMM: Rhino and Model MakingMitch Heynick, instructor and manager of the student model shop at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland will explain why Rhino has been an integral part of his professional life for more than 14 years. We will look at just a few of the tools that this Swiss Army Knife of 3D CAD has to offer model making professionals: CAD and other digital data: import/export/translations/repairs, subatomic control: down and dirty into the heart of NURBS, flexibility/customizability, and a brief overview of what’s new in the upcoming Rhino 5 for existing users. This presentation is for experienced and inexperienced Rhino users alike, there will be something for everyone. No sales pitch here ‐ just personal tips, tricks and examples from a long time Rhino user and fanatic.

Some More of My Favorite Things – This popular session returns as participants present and discuss their favorite materials, consumables, equipment, implements, etc. The focus will be on innovative uses for these items, where to source them, cost, and techniques for maximizing use. Results will be posted to our website’s permanent My Favorite Things page.

3D Printer Round-Up – An analysis of the equipment and materials options available and how to find the one that best fits your project needs. Details and presenters to be finalized soon!

RP Technology Roundtable – Get an update on the latest in Rapid Prototyping technology in this dynamic roundtable discussion with senior model makers and RP vendors. Moderated by Bruce Willey of Ziba Design.

Safety Starts With Awareness - Duane Martinez, Studio Technician for Colgate University's Art Department, presents a practical look at safety in the shop. Though standards exist for safety, it remains the responsibility of each individual shop user to create an environment that encourages and ensures safe operation of the potentially dangerous tools and machinery we use every day. The presentation will include discussion of emergency management (injuries, hazardous materials, etc.), technology like the SawStop saw-brake, and just plain common sense approaches to keeping all your digits, both eyes, and people around you safe.

Old Skool Tekneeks - Talk shop with David Quinlan of Accu-Link Development and Chris Lewis of Ryobi Technologies/TTI (AKA “The Mr. Clean Bros.”) as they discuss ancient model making solutions that are still viable and valuable today. They'll cover old world methods like fixturing parts for complicated operations and knowing what kind of cutters, blades and setting are best for unusual materials. From simple shop math for complex situations to old ways that still have relevance, this session will feature a brief presentation followed by an open forum Q&A session. Young bucks can try to "stump the chumps" by asking how to calculate the correct RPM or feed-rate for machining steel vs. aluminum, for example. Come learn how to be a better tool maker, model maker and inventor.


Websites That WorkMichael Nixon of Meadors moderates this workshop on how to get your company into cyberspace or get your web presence kicked up a notch. Can you DIY or should you hire a freelancer or company? What features will give you the biggest bang for the buck, and how do you hire the right person to make it happen? What are the maintenance issues you’ll have to keep track of? How much computer horsepower and bandwidth do you need? These and other questions will be presented and discussed.

Shop My Shop!Jill Kenik, President, Acropolis Studios, Inc. moderates a marketing round table for those of you who are looking to get the word out about your business.  Is print dead?  Should your CNC be tweeting? Billboards, blogs, websites, mailers, ad words and beyond, many of us work in niche markets and are faced with trying to reach our customers and find new ones without big advertising budgets.  This will be an open discussion on what has worked and what has not, and how to track winners and losers.  Participants are encouraged to bring samples and proposals of marketing materials and be willing to share their results and gain feedback from their fellow model makers.

The Good, Bad and Ugly of Running a Model Shop – This perennial favorite will have three knowledgeable presenters from among our model shop managers and business owners discussing their personal experiences of running three very different model shops. Each presenter will share examples of good, bad and ugly situations that they have encountered and overcome. Come ready to share your own experiences, too.

Designing Shop Spaces - How do you keep your dream shop from turning into a nightmare? Terry Wellman of St. Charles Model Works leads a discussion on optimal ways to lay out shop space, what equipment is needed, and how to decide whether to build from the ground up or move into an existing building. What permits are needed? What do you need to know about lighting, electrical systems, air filtration, and HVAC before you take a sledgehammer to that first wall?

Survive an OSHA Inspection Steve Zink, Assistant Area Director for the Kansas City OSHA office will give a presentation on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration including their inspection priorities and how to arrange for a consultation.  A Q&A session will follow.  Steve has an MS/BS in Industrial Safety Management and is a Certified Safety Professional and a Certified Public Manger.  He has 28 years of experience in the field of workplace safety. Bring your candid questions to contribute to an open discussion.


Portfolio Review – Bring your portfolio and resume for a practical review of your work and education/training background with senior model makers, shop owners, and hiring managers. This opportunity is ideal for students and recent graduates to get their portfolios evaluated by professionals. Even if you’ve had your work critiqued by instructors, sharing your projects with model making professionals will help sharpen your presentation skills. [Individual sessions will be scheduled on site to match you with a professional from your field of interest]

Tension Release and Physical Balance – Improper posture and stored tension after hours of work in strained positions can lead to back pain and injury. Learn how to improve your balance and alignment and use relaxation techniques and stretches to remain flexible, fit and healthy. This workshop with Samantha Nardella, certified yoga instructor from Maya Yoga of Kansas City will give you specific techniques and discuss ways to improve your workspace while strengthening your core.

Apprenticeships and Internships: What to do? - This panel discussion on the ins and outs of internships, moderated by Peter Mack, model shop team leader at Steelcase, Inc., is ideal for managers who want to hire interns, students who want to be interns, and those who are curious about internship programs. How do you set up an internship? What questions do you ask to select the right person? The open forum setting will enable discussion on how to evaluate an intern and how to provide a meaningful experience for your interns. We will also touch on apprenticeship programs, what that means, and what you can expect.


Transfer Graphics - For years, custom dry transfers have been a great tool that model makers utilize to apply graphics. John Zell of Camera Graphics in Portland, Oregon, a graphics specialist, produces transfers for a wide range of applications. He will have samples to show and literature for all. John will cover preparing art, the actual production of transfers, and application techniques. Transfers are a great alternative to pad or screen printing. By attending this workshop you could win a door prize and everyone will receive a coupon to use toward a dry transfer order.

Trees Make a Good Model Great! – Want to learn how to get the finest trees on the market at a fraction of the cost? Join Jim Wilde of Timberline Scenery in this hands-on session to craft fluffy, realistic-looking, versatile trees from Timberline’s “smashed tree kits”? These trees are quick and easy, fun to build and will produce the finest looking trees on the market in minutes! Jim will also share some tips and tricks on achieving more realistic scenery and landscaping.

Make-It and Take-It!David Brummel of Aves Studio will lead a hands-on demonstration of Aves® modeling clays. This hands-on exercise for creative minds will give you the opportunity to work with self-hardening clays. David will present each one present with a sample to take home!

Vacuum Forming - Join Nic Neath of Formech Inc. as he demonstrates the vacuum forming process right on site with their model 508FS. Already have a machine? Stop by with your mold making questions as Jordan Kessel, Formech Inc.’s resident cast pattern maker will be on hand to help provide answers. Formech will demonstrate and discuss how vacuum forming can be an essential part of the model making process, especially in those scenarios where rapid replication is key!

Enter the DraGun - Chris Pruitt and Lesley Gray of Fiberlay, Inc., will demonstrate the “DraGun”, a low cost mix-meter dispenser. They will dispense a two component urethane casting resin. The DraGun is variable ratio, so it can dispense and mix a variety of materials, both pour and spray. Fiberlay has been a distributor to the composite and plastics industries since 1952. Fiberlay offers a diverse line of products and technical expertise for these products, featuring epoxy, polyester and vinyl ester resins as well as carbon fiber, Kevlar and e-glass reinforcements. They also offer urethane tooling board and a complete line of urethane and silicone mold making and casting materials for all applications.

Maximizing RP TechnologiesMichael Blaz of Laser Reproductions will present a workshop on how his company has utilized various rapid prototyping technologies including SLA, SLS, FDM, and even CNC, to assist in the building of models and low volume production parts. From automotive and architecture, to consumer products and even aerospace, rapid prototyping supports many model makers in many aspects of model building. The use of the wide variety of different SLA materials has allowed model makers to think outside of the box when building their models. Michael will have many materials on display that will show not only the differences in the material choices available, but the multiple uses that these services and materials have.  Actual photos of prototypes in various models will be presented along with the latest information about the Rapid Prototyping and Additive Manufacturing Industry.

Complex Digital Modeling Without Complex CAD SoftwareMichael Joyce and Kevin Atkins of Sensable demonstrate the Freeform Modeling System with two powerful workflows. In the first, they show how to take an existing physical model, modify it digitally, prepare for manufacture, and design a mold ready for RP. And in the second, how to integrate complex organic forms and textures into your typical CAD system (e.g. SolidWorks or Rhino).

Connecting People, Processes and 3D Printing Technology - Join Tim Weatherford and Cindie Hallows of TWI for an informative workshop to learn how to achieve Lean Product Development using 3D Printing technology. TWI will show you innovative ways to take full advantage of 3D Printing technology in house.  Review of 3D Systems/ZCorp Product Line and Case Studies.




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