America Makes Partners with ORNL in Sponsorship of and Exhibition at the 2014 First Championship

oungstown, Ohio — April 23, 2014. America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, and in conjunction with the Department of Energy – Oak Ridge National Labs’ (ORNL) Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, are proud to announce their sponsorship of and exhibition at the 2014 FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Championship at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Mo., on April 23-26, 2014. Look for the America Makes and ORNL exhibit near the second floor Atrium.

The FIRST® Championship is the preeminent celebration of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) for youths to put their engineering skills to the test.This year, more than 12,000 students, comprising of 650 teams from 38 countries are expected in St. Louis, Mo., to compete in the three levels of FIRST: FIRST® LEGO®League (FLL®, grades 4 to 8, ages 9 to 14 in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico; ages 9 to 16 outside the U.S., Canada, and Mexico); FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC®, grades 7 to 12, ages 12 to 18); and FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC®, grades 9 to 12, ages 14 to 18). In addition to the high-energy robotics matches, 40 teams of ages 6 to 9 participated in the Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®, grades K-3).

America Makes and ORNL are leading a collaboration enabled by their sponsors, including AST2; Case Western Reserve University; Department of Energy – Advanced Manufacturing Office; Johnson Controls, Inc.; Met-L-Flo Inc.; New Valence Robotics, LLC; Rapid PSI; RP+M; Simplify3D; Solid Concepts; Stratasys; TNFIRST; University of Michigan; and Zip-Bit, Inc., and a special initiative from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office and TNFIRST, 3D Systems, MakerGear, and MakerBot to introduce 3D printing into the game of play by making approximately 450 3D printers and more than $130K in 3D printing services available to participating FRC teams.

For the FIRST Robotics Championship, 400 teams from 10 countries—Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Dominican Republic, Israel, Mexico, Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States—will compete in matches in four divisions to determine the competitors in the Championship Finals.

Additionally, America Makes is sponsoring the FIRST® 3D Printing Award (3DPA), which recognizes the creative use of 3D printing to provide innovative design solutions, resolve manufacturing challenges, enhance marketing solutions, and engage in community outreach. The goal of this award is to motivate teams to explore applications of 3D printing that directly support the FIRST mission of inspiring young people to be science and technology leaders and to the FIRST vision of transforming the culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated.

This year, America Makes also announced that two $1,000 scholarships would be made available to graduating seniors with skills in 3D printing. These scholarships were made possible by special contributions from MakerGear and Stratasys.

All FIRST Robotics Competition teams for the 2014 season could apply for the 3DPA competition. To be eligible, teams needed to have a functional (not cosmetic) 3D printed part intended for use on their competition robot and submit all necessary competition requirements during the submission period of January 31 through March 14, 2014, to America Makes.

America Makes will announce the 3DPA Team winner at the FIRST Championship, presenting the winning team with a trophy and a Cube Printer donated by 3D Systems.

At the America Makes and ORNL exhibit, attendees can participate in a variety of hands-on activities to experience how 3D technologies are changing the way things are being made today.

The youngest attendees with the help of America Makes and ORNL mentors will be able to choose from a selection of pre-designed cookie cutters, print them out, and use PLAY-DOH® modeling compound to cut out “cookies.” The Gear Wall experience will provide the opportunity for middle school age students to design and customize their own gear in CAD, print them out on the 3D printers, and add them to the “gear wall” within the America Makes and ORNL booth. High school students will design their own miniature wind turbine blades and print them out. Students will then engage in proof-of-concept demonstrations in which their blades will be mounted onto a turbine stand where wind from a fan will directed at the stand. A tachometer will be used to measure revolutions per minute (RPM) to prove the effectiveness of their blade design.

To promote the FIRST Finale Glow Dance on the evening of Saturday, April 26th, America Makes and ORNL are also offering a Glow Jewelry activity at its exhibit. Students will be able to customize prepared jewelry designs or design their own and print them out on the 3D printers using a glow material. They may also select from preprinted jewelry, including rings, bracelets, and charms, and use neon permanent markers to color and customize.

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