WORKSHOPS - Learning Opportunities

Workshops sessions are so important to model makers that we sandwich them in the middle of our four days of Conference happenings.

See the workshop schedule in advance and read the detailed descriptions.


Product Demonstration - Greenville, SC 2016
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Workshop session - 2016 (photo: C Lewis)



The History of Pattern Making - Bruce Williams, of Accurate Pattern will provide a dynamic demonstration of the unique tools, materials and techniques for creating wood foundry patterns before the advent of computers. How were patterns made strong and stable? What special knowledge did these craftspeople have? We will discuss draft, shrink, layouts, machines, some surprising tools, and more. Bruce is from a pattern-making family: his father and two brothers are pattern makers and his wife's grandfather and great-grandfather were also in the trade, creating a rich heritage that dates back to the 1800s.

Molding and Casting Essentials - Join Jim Leonard of World Class Prototypes for a comprehensive and interactive session with samples of the many types of projects covered in this workshop. Jim, who has 28 years of experience in the urethane casting business, will discuss mold making techniques, casting techniques and other tips for molding parts. With part geometries and complexities ranging from large, small, molded inserts, color, clear, tinted clears, textures, 2 shot molding, overmolding, living hinges, and rotational molding of hollow parts, there's virtually nothing that won't be covered. He'll also talk about master model preparation, shrink rates, temperature considerations, post curing, and other material properties.

25 Talents of a Model Maker (You Won't Believe Number 11!) - Craftsmanship is the most vital aspect of model making. What does it look like? How is it judged? How is it valued? In the first part of this workshop, we'll explore those questions. When you're meeting clients, or job-hunting, or having a performance-review, and you need to make another person understand what you bring to the table (besides a finely-crafted model) what can you tell them? Why should they choose to hire or pay you more? We'll look at the other talents a model maker should have to advance professionally. Join business-owner Hal Chaffee of Model Builders, Inc. and model shop manager Bruce Willey to find out the amazing talents model makers have. 

Metals in Models – Jill Kenik of Acropolis Studios, Inc. will provide an overview of a broad range of metal component manufacturing techniques, material selection criteria and finishing techniques. Lost wax casting, spin casting, gravity casting, flexible and rigid molds, chemical etching, electroplating, and die striking will be included in the discussion. Bring along component ideas for evaluation during the question and answer portion.

Conserving Models – The newly opened Foster Foundation showcases the work and influences of renowned architect Lord Norman Foster. Paul Johnson, Course Leader at Arts University Bournemouth (UK) will tell the story of recreating a significant model from Lord Foster’s career and the difficulties of conserving models, especially 3D printed ones, for future study. How long would your models last in a museum? Why might it be important to preserve them?

Additive Metal Technology Craig Leese of Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab will give an overview of this next obvious evolution in rapid prototyping technology. In this class we will: properly distinguish between the hype and realities of Additive Manufacturing (AM), explore the principles and terminology associated with this process and understand the AM industry vision for the future. Come look at samples, ask questions, and assess the feasibility of incorporating this great new tool in your shop.

From 3D Printing to Model MakingJustin Pickerd of Forerunner 3D Printing will tell how his company started a 3D printing business and soon found that model making skills were essential to their success. He'll discuss their need to upgrade their finishing and painting capabilities, how they worked with design engineers on cost vs. functionality, and their ultimate need to develop and acquire true model making skills.

Model Making and Microcontrollers – Explore the use of small computers in model making! Join Pete Hoffswell, technology maker and leader of Lakeshore Makers, as he shares his experiences in making with the Arduino microcontroller.  Come learn the basics and explore the opportunities to use these small computers in your next project. Attendance to either session is optional. Feel free to attend both or either event.

Session 1: Arduino microcontroller basics workshop: In this session we will explore the Arduino microcontroller in a hands-on exercise.  We'll learn how to program the device, and discuss ways to incorporate a small computer as an embedded system in a project.  Participants will learn how to obtain, program and integrate an Arduino into their next project. To participate fully, bring a laptop computer.
Session 2: Microcontroller integration exploration: In this session we will explore the many interfaces for input and output that can be connected to the Arduino microcontroller.  Pete will develop a working prototype with a user interface, display and actuator.  Attendees will gain a greater understanding of how these small computers could be used in model making, as well as share their ideas and experiences.



Managing Personnel and Projects: Please don’t shoot the bossPaul Chabala of Crown Equipment Corporation brings his experience as a 22-year veteran in model making, both as a model maker and currently as Model Shop manager to present techniques and solutions in managing both personnel and projects. Alternatives to “shooting the boss” will be provided.

Leverage Technology to Improve ThroughPut - Mike Elsholz, model shop manager at Steelcase, Inc., will share examples of technology and software that he's used, to include Fusion 360 CAD and CAM software for designing and CNC machining, ExactFlat software (add-on to Fusion 360) for pattern development in upholstery, Cincinnati software for brake press forming, and 3D Scanner for part measuring/comparing and reverse engineering. Mike will open up this interactive session for discussion and sharing of others' experiences and questions.

Crowdfunding Your Project – How do you get your project financed if you’re not Daddy Warbucks or Scrooge McDuck? By crowdfunding!  Hear from those who’ve done it successfully how to harness the funding power of a group. In 2015, it is estimated that US$34 billion was raised by alternative financing and crowdsourcing. Dani Mason of B9Creations and Taylor Wieck of The Geek Group will talk about their experiences and how they raised the capital to launch their company’s venture. Moderators: Bruce Willey, Paul Chabala

Digital Marketing – There’s no such thing as free marketing… wait – there is! Joshua Munchow, APMM’s VP of Technology/Social Media and Technical Development Lead at Formation Design Group will lead a roundtable discussion on digital media, social media marketing, and leveraging the free tools at our disposal to create interest in model making and potentially drive business to model shops that use it. Bring your device, your questions, and leave with real-world applications!

Developing and Funding your Independent Project – Taylor Wieck of The Geek Group of Grand Rapids assists people with both developing projects and using crowdfunding to make them succeed. Some funding options are better suited for different kinds of endeavors and his presentation will give an overview of a number of different options out there and essentials to know on each of them.  There will be a related panel discussion on crowdfunding.

Model Making in India – Meet Sharad Dahake of Nagpur’s Ideal Mockups and two colleagues who will talk about their business and the model making scenario in India. This interactive presentation will include a general overview of doing business in India, the types of projects they undertake, and some of the challenges as well as future prospects. Bring your questions and thoughts about model making around the world.



Yoga for Model Makers: Mindfulness at the Bench – Yoga practitioner Amy Rowland, E-RYT500 will explain how being mindful can assist a model maker to navigate daily stressors, remain limber and relaxed, and remain pain-free from the start of a project until the end. Loose clothing and an open mind are recommended.

Your Portfolio: First Impressions Last – We all know what it takes to be a great model maker; Don’t we? This interactive session led by Will Strange, Senior Lecturer at Arts University Bournemouth (UK) will aim to define the skills that we need to succeed as model makers; helping define what training is important, and how to remain up to date. Do we still need the same skills as 10 years ago? What skills will we need in 10 years’ time? Looking for work? What should you show in your portfolio? Looking for staff? Where will you find people with the right skills?

Prototype and Design at NWTC - Educator Andy Nooyen of NWTC provides insight into the program at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College with an overview of the course offerings, and a description of their location and shop. Andy will concentrate on what makes NWTC students employment-ready upon completion of the program. Bring your interest and questions for this illuminating session.



CNC Technology - Steve Stevenson of ICONIC CNC will discuss how to choose the right CAD/CAM software - what features are most important and how much you'll need to invest. He'll also explore how to select a CNC machine, including what features to look for and "how big is too big?" Steve will also cover the nuances of choosing a manufacturing partner - are all manufacturers equal? Learn how to quantify after-sale support before you write the check. Steve will bring samples of work and there will be time for Q&A. 

Materials for Rapid Prototyping - John Holtkamp and Brad Frikkers of Reynolds Advanced Materials in Detroit will lead a general discussion of materials for rapid prototyping like XTC-3D print coating that will cut your post finishing time by 90%.  Watch as we demonstrate easy to use mold making silicones and casting resins that cure in minutes to show you how to quickly reproduce highly detailed models.  We will also discuss filling, coloring and finishing options for your parts.  Your questions are always welcome.

Transfers and Digital Printing - John Zell of Camera Graphics in Portland, OR has served makers of all kinds with dry rub transfers since 2003. “Rub downs” are the easiest and clean way to add graphics to your models and prototypes. The variety of uses is limited only to your imagination. John will cover everything from uses to art prep, production, and application. In recent years, Camera Graphics has expanded its service offerings to include short run digital printing on pressure sensitive label stocks. He is also producing printed packaging prototypes, including folded cartons (boxes), plastic bags, and shrink sleeves.

3D Printing - B9Creations Want to know how 3D printing could help your business and see a model come to life before your eyes? Stop by and meet Dani Mason of B9Creations to learn about the B9 Core Series 3D printers, powerhouses of speed and resolution built based on feedback from real customers, along with our post-curing solution and ever-expanding resin line engineered for model-making needs. While you watch a model 3D print in real time, you’ll get a peek under the hood to see what makes our printers four times faster than industry average, with a user-friendly interface, high-quality resins, and resolution as fine as 1/3 the size of a human hair. We’ll also share stories of real customers and the impact 3D printing has had on their business – and share how 3D printing could work for you. Learn what to look for in a 3D printer and be sure to bring your questions!