AMUG Announces Technical Competition Winners, DINOS, and President’s Award

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As we’ve learned from Jim Harrison’s history of the organization, the Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) is continually evolving. Moreover, it reflects how the 3D printing industry itself is evolving. And, each year, AMUG demonstrates that quite tangibly with new appointments, the recognition of new Distinguished INnovator Operators (DINOs), and by selecting winners from its annual Technical Competition. 2023 was no different in this regard.

2023 AMUG Conference Technical Competition Winners

AMUG recently announced the winners of its Technical Competition, dedicated to excellence in additive manufacturing (AM) applications and finishing techniques. A panel of industry veterans selected the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) and Custom Prototypes as Advanced Concepts and Advanced Finishing winners, while AMUG Members also selected UDRI for the Members’ Choice Award.

The winner of the Advanced Finishing category came from Custom Prototypes‘ Daniel Goncalves and Jung Kyu Im, who, in collaboration with a University of Toronto science team, digitized and 3D printed a 450-million-year-old fossil of the marine animal Tomlinsonus Dimitrii. The company claimed that it was “the oldest fossil of marine animal ever found.” The model was printed using stereolithography and used their own process to modify the hardness and transparency of the materials before applying color. The team stated, “By carefully selecting the materials and post-processing systems, we managed to create various soft, hard, transparent, and opaque tissues of the animal.”

Custom Prototypes brought this 450-million-year-old creature to life with mastery of painting and finishing techniques.

UDRI won the Advanced Concepts category with a 3D printed micro-turbine engine, sponsored by the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP), with assistance from the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) and Belcan Engineering. With only four main components—rotor, housing, nozzle, and starter-motor mount—the part count was cut by 90 percent compared to conventional designs.

UDRI’s micro-turbine engine’s main components—rotor, housing, nozzle, and starter-motor mount—were manufactured with metal additive manufacturing.

Ben Loerke, who submitted the project as a member of the engineering team, noted: “The successes of this project have aided in redefining what was thought possible in metal AM design and in the use of metal AM for functional rotating hardware. The long-term goal of this project is to fill a growing DoD need for power plants that are sourced in a cost-effective and environmentally friendly manner. Based on a Life Cycle Analysis of the AM engine and similar traditional engines, it is believed that AM provides a unique opportunity to strike both of these criteria and fill this need in the micro-turbine engine market.”


In addition to the Technical Competition winners, AMUG also announced the latest DINO Award winners, honored for their tenure and years of service in the industry, as well as active support of AMUG. From the over 1,800 attendees of the conference, the 10 DINOs selected were:

DINO Awards were presented to (from left) Bogdan Filipkowski, Matthew Mitchell, Dave Rittmeyer, Rob Hassold, Colton Rooney, Danny Levy, Heather Natal, Tim Bell, Alex Roschli, and Roger Nielsen.

Over the past 25 years of the organization’s 35-year existence, only 187 DINOs have been awarded. These members were selected for their contribution to the industry and the users’ group, with Bell, Levy, Mitchell, Natal, Rooney, and Roschli having served on the AMUG Board and AMUG committees, Hassold and Nielson supporting AM education via scholarships, and Filipkowski and Rittmeyer showcasing the ability to achieve results with 3D printing. Nominations for 2024 DINO candidates will be accepted beginning October 1, 2023.

DINOs from 1998 to 2023 assembled at the 2023 AMUG Conference.

AMUG President’s Award

At this year’s event, AMUG also presented the President’s Award to Mark Wynn, Senior Technical Specialist for Yazaki North America, Inc. Wynn has been attending the event since 1995 and began volunteering for AMUG in 2000. Since then, he’s worn many hats as part of the organization, including AMUGexpo team lead, Deputy Vice President, AMUG Board of Directors member, and Expo Committee Chair. By 2015, he received his own DINO award. The President’s Award is meant to honor vision, leadership, and years of service dedicated AMUG, with only 11 total President’s Awards even handed out.

Surprised and humbled, Mark Wynn holds his President’s Award. Behind Wynn are AMUG Past Presidents Mark Barfoot (left) and Paul Bates.

Mark Abshire, AMUG President, said, “Mark Wynn’s perseverance, dedication, passion, professionalism, and selflessness were apparent in each of the AMUG roles he filled. And the result of those qualities was excellence in his work.”

Wynn said, “I am extremely honored to have received the President’s Award. I am also truly humbled by the recognition. There have only been ten previous recipients in AMUG’s history, and they are among the people I admire and respect the most in the additive manufacturing industry. Just to be mentioned in their company is truly amazing.”

Mark Wynn (front left) receives the President’s Award from Mark Abshire, AMUG President. In honor of Wynn, past AMUG presidents gathered on the stage.

All of the above suggests that, while the AMUG Conference may be an annual highlight for 3D printing users, it is not what the organization itself is about. Instead, the conference is a culmination of what truly is a year’s worth of effort, which builds on three-and-a-half decade’s worth of effort. So, though many of us will be excited to see how the 2024 AMUG Conference pans out, AMUG volunteers are already busy advancing the organization and the AM industry itself.

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