Meadville Tribune

Local News

April 4, 2014

3D printing demo to be part of RoboBOTS sideshows

MEADVILLE — Additive manufacturing is shaping up to be a major term in conjunction with this year’s RoboBOTS robot building competition, which will feature a three-dimensional printing demonstration courtesy of Prism Engineering of Pittsburgh.

The term describes the production of solid, three-dimensional objects in layers from the bottom up, making parts or models out of plastic or other materials.

Prism representatives said they’ve attended the RoboBOTS competition for a number of years and interest regarding the evolution of 3D printing continues to grow with its significance in local industry.

“We started doing these events over the past five or six years to educate more and more kids about 3D software and (computer-aided design),” said Dan Wilkes, Prism Engineering regional manager. “Our booth this year will be a little different with the printer there, but we’ll also talk to more industry people and educate adults as well.”

The concept and practice of 3D printing isn’t new, but the application of its technologies are constantly changing, becoming more efficient and popular over time, according to Wilkes.

“The main focus was always to build a prototype,” said Shawn Narey, 3D printer account executive for Prism Engineering. “Now it’s incorporated into everyday business, building something lighter, easier and more functional than what you have now.”

Manufacturers that once printed mere model parts or marketing tools have shifted 3D printer use into actual part production.

Companies can theoretically create just about anything from vehicle parts and mechanical components to fabrics and instruments, all with precision, time-efficiency and practical application.

“It’s a lot more practical,” Wilkes said. “I can take this and print it, make a part that saves thousands in production costs and can still be productive, rather than making high-end prototypes.”

Additive manufacturing makes shops of all sizes more effective, Narey echoed, making it a perfect fit for Crawford County, where it already has practical application with companies such as NuTec Tooling Systems and Kuhn Tool and Die of Meadville.

“It’s important and appealing,” said Brian Deane, president of NuTec and coordinator of the RoboBOTS competition for the northwestern Pennsylvania chapter of the National Tooling and Machining Association. “It’s an emerging technology and we’re glad to have one at the event for kids and parents to see one if they haven’t and learn about it.”

Students are getting more exposure to these new technologies, further cementing their future application, according to Wilkes.

“Kids nowadays are used to the gaming world,” he said. “Learning new (technologies) is relatively easy for them, so for them to create 3D images to use or create items is realistically doable with virtually no heavy manufacturing.”

Keeping today’s youth aware of the latest manufacturing technologies inside the county and its school districts will positively impact local industry, he added.

“Kids coming out of high school can step into the manufacturing region at the top with rapid prototyping and 3D printing,” he said. “At the same time, they’re sort of educating adults with how easy it is.”

A Prism Engineering representative will be able to take questions at RoboBOTS with the aim of helping the public understand the countless possibilities born of different materials, processes and applications.

Konstantine Fekos can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at

Text Only
Local News
  • Well inspectors trying to keep up during boom time

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.

    July 27, 2014

  • cycle Young stunt cyclist to bring show to 'Thunder'

    V-v-v-v-eroom! is the high-pitched whine from the Honda CBR 600 sport motorcycle as Steven Pilic rolls back the throttle and speeds down the asphalt. In one quick, smooth motion — just like you put one foot in front of the other — he shifts his weight forward on the handlebars, jumps from the bike’s foot pegs, lands his feet on the seat and pulls the 400-plus pounds of metal up onto its back wheel, using a combination of balance, brakes, clutch and speed to circle slowly at first and then faster and faster, tighter and tighter while doing a wheelie.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tornado watch issued for Crawford County

    The National Weather Service in Cleveland has issued a tornado watch for Crawford County.


    July 27, 2014

  • SUNDAY ISSUE: 'Free-range' parenting

    The case of a woman arrested after leaving her daughter at a park while she went to work is sparking discussion across South Carolina — and even the rest of the country.

    July 26, 2014

  • pymatuning History majors rule at Pioneer & Art Festival

    Those looking for living history exhibits at the 21st annual Pymatuning Pioneer & Art Festival weren’t disappointed Saturday.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Organizers ready to stimulate Meadville with next weekend's Thunder in the City

    Started six years ago by Dave Stone, owner of Mickey’s Central Station, as an event to “increase commerce and stimulate the economy,” the annual Thunder in the City Classic Car and Motorcycle Show in Meadville has done that — and lots more.

    July 25, 2014

  • Conneautville celebrating 200 years

    Thursday was a relaxed opening day at the Conneautville Bicentennial Celebration, but things will get hopping today — literally. A frog jumping contest is scheduled for 6 p.m.

    July 25, 2014

  • PennDOT seeking outside help to make bridge repairs

    State officials are poised to sign a massive deal that will enlist outside help to rebuild and maintain up to 600 bridges, marking the Corbett administration’s latest foray into privatizing key government functions.

    July 24, 2014

  • Stabbing charges dismissed against Bloomfield woman

    A Bloomfield Township woman accused of stabbing her live-in companion last month is a free woman after the alleged victim in the case didn’t appear in court Wednesday.

    July 24, 2014

  • Guys Mills boy wins national PBS Kids Writers Contest

    July 24, 2014

Business Marquee
AP Video
Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide