TIPE 2022 was a different sort of 3D Printing conference. SJ settled in to watch an event that shone a light on women and non-binary speakers and which looked at thought-provoking user applications from the front lines, as well as discussions around where its workforce is heading
When you’re a minority in a male dominated industry you quickly learn that, if they won’t give you a seat at the table, then your best bet is to go off and build your own – something the TIPE conference has done to its advantage.
The online conference dedicated to 3D Printing proved a space to highlight women and non-binary panelists and speakers with talks focusing on thought-provoking case studies, noteworthy user applications, and the arduous discussions around the direction the industry is headed.
This global conference is planned, organised, and hosted by Women in 3D Printing, an organisation dedicated to closing the gender-gap in additive manufacturing. With over 186 speakers from all five continents, four tracks, 50 sponsors, two virtual career fairs, and 30 hours of content, it’s no surprise that this conference attracted well over 2,000 attendees from across the globe.
Running almost around the clock for its three day duration, the 20 hours of content available was truly varied. Divided into five tracks: Technology, Industry, People, Economics, and Youth, the conference included industry sharing and lively debates around new ideas and refining old concepts, so here’s a taster of what went on:
TIPE has uploaded much of its content online for viewers to revisit and share, so here’s my three talks not to miss:
Application: Breaking away the challenges of Metal Additive Support Structures by Samantha Welch, Lockheed Martin. If you work in metal printing, this is required viewing, especially if you’re just starting out with support design.
Design: Design for 3D Printing by Kavitha Mohanraj, founder and creative lead of Into Design. It’s an insightful and down to earth explanation on why some shapes are more difficult than others for our current 3D printing technology.
Materials: The Latest in Powder Bed Fusion by Mihaela Vlasea (University of Waterloo), Sarah Wolff (Texas A&M University), Joy Gockel (Colorado School of Mines), and Dana Drake (EOS North America). In-depth discussion around in situ monitoring, the development of new materials, refractory metals in DED, and how melt pools behave in multi-material welding applications. I rated this talk three chilli peppers because it was extra spicy.
TIPE 2022 – Key topics, moments and talks
One of my absolute favourite trending topics at this conference was centred around the intersection of 3D printing and fashion.
Julia Koerner, a designer working at the intersection of architecture and a keynote speaker for the conference, discusses how she draws on inspiration from nature such as the deep-sea basket sponge to extract algorithmic knowledge and put it into a dress.
Koerner uses a point cloud data structure to make the dress appear as though it has grown organically around the body to reveal certain areas and hide others.
An example dress of Koerner’s combines FDM and SLS technology with thermochromatic filament so that certain areas of the dress would also change colour based on filament used – allowing the garment to wear the mood of its owner.
You’re definitely going to need some bling to go with that dress, so I highly recommend you check out Thefutureofjewelery (TFOJ) and its founder Casey Melvin, with her talk on 3D printing, web3.0, mass customisation in consumer products, and how these types of companies will drive the next wave of innovation.
Melvin spoke of how the most successful custom consumer products of tomorrow will create actual value for consumers and offer fast, user-friendly online interactive configurations. Check out TFOJ’s 3D signet ring customisation tool on any device for an idea of where it’s heading. custom.TFOJ.com.
A key highlight for TIPE 2022 was the open, honest, and frank discussions around industry standards. ASTM and the FAA had representatives Kirstie Snodderly and Cindy Ashforth, respectively, give a joint presentation discussing the formulation of industry standards and put out a call to the wider industry for more collaboration.
TIPE 2022 – The human element
Lisa Arafune, the Director of Outreach at the Additive Manufacturing Coalition, gave an insightful reminder in her talk of how important it is that educating the public also includes educating our government officials. If we want additive to be “boring” we need funding for research and workforce grants that can help bring additive manufacturing to the same level as more traditional manufacturing methods.
This conference was set apart from others in the industry due to its human centred content. You can see more of that in the People Track where discussions centered around working moms, the gender pay gap, beautiful disagreements, and the DEI work being done in industry.
Another keynote speaker, Reshma Saujani – the CEO of the Marshall Plan for Moms and Founder of Girls Who Code, was asked about creating a work life balance and responded frankly that the balance is an antiquated tenet of corporate feminism that needs to be thrown in the garbage.
“We were told that if we leaned in hard enough, if we tried hard enough, if we got a sponsor that we would get to equality, but that was a lie,” said Saujani, “Because 86 per cent of domestic work at home is done by women and until we get to equality in the home we’re never going to get to equality in the workplace.”
Finally, Alex Kingsbury and myself gave a Megan Thee Stallion themed talk called: ‘Don’t Get Mad, Get the Bag’ where we discussed the wide gender pay gap being faced in the additive industry while also covering the impact it has on the intersections of class, race, gender, and motherhood.
There were more topics and content than I could ever cover in such a short spread here. As I read the agenda leading up to the conference, I wondered why I hadn’t seen any presentations of this level or caliber before.
I was engaged nonstop from start to finish as everything was fresh, new, and different from the industry AM talks I’ve been used to at other events.
I’m a firm believer that sameness brings sameness. If everyone at your conference looks the same, works at the same circle of companies, has the same background and qualifications, went to all the same schools, etc, it can start to sound like an echo chamber.
So, when you’re tired of all the background noise, this table is ready.