David Kirkpatrick

February 23, 2010

An interview with SME’s Gary Mikola

Gary Mikola is the Business Development Manager for the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and is the Event Manager for Rapid 2010 & 3D Imaging Conference & Tradeshow coming this May in Anaheim. Gary has 31 years of experience at SME with responsibilities including conferencing, tradeshows, membership and training.

Fine art is going to be a part of this year’s Rapid show through the SculptCAD Rapid Artists Project, an effort that combines the creativity of working visual artists with the cutting edge of 3D modeling, 3D visualization, rapid prototyping and digital sculpture tools. SculptCAD’s Nancy Hairston is spearheading the project and is participating as an artist.

This interview with Mikola is the second of many coming blog posts about the SculptCAD Rapid Artists Project (you can find the first post here) and is the first interview with a project principal. Future posts include a discussion with Hairston on her artwork and her work as a 3D industry leader, and posts with individual participating artists covering how they are approaching the technology. Hopefully future posts will include some sneak previews of the art being created in this fusion of fine art and high technology.

And without further delay, here’s the interview with SME’s Gary Mikola:

I understand SME is interested in the intersection of fine art and technologies like rapid prototyping, additive manufacturing, 3D visualization/modeling, etc. (I’m sure I’ve left some tech areas out of that short list.) What would you like to see in the future in terms of integrating SME and fine art? What comes next after RAPID 2010 and the SculptCAD RAPID ARTISTS Project?

SME is fortunate to have dedicated members and event advisers including the Rapid Technologies and Additive Manufacturing (RTAM) group. RTAM advocated the addition of a presentation addressing the use of the technology applied to art. Most recently, many prominent artists, including speaker Bathsheba Grossman, have associated with and used the technology to create and present art.

Tell me a little about the genesis of making fine art a part of RAPID 2010?

A tension exists between design engineers and manufacturing engineers. Starting with concurrent engineering philosophy to present, the task of manufacturing products designed by someone outside of manufacturing has slowed product to market. RAPID will be an outlet for engineers from both camps to come together and turn ideas and designs into reality.

Artists have an ability to think outside the lines of traditional concepts. Contemporary art exemplifies that. The challenge of creating products that appeal to all kinds of markets and multiple applications presents a catalyst for change for design and manufacturing engineers. The SculptCAD Rapid Artists projects here at RAPID will introduce this concept to a wider range of people. We have confidence that the SculptCAD Rapid Artists Project will be a beginning, expanding thinking and creating future applications.

Looking toward this year’s show, how did Nancy Hairston (VanDuzen, SculptCAD) and the SculptCAD RAPID ARTISTS Project get involved with RAPID 2010? Did you know Nancy before this project?

SME members and Technical Advisers Kevin Ayers, FBI and Vesna Cota, Tyco Electronics Canada, were instrumental in pushing for the inclusion of art at RAPID. After Kevin introduced SME to Nancy, we formalized the inclusion of the SculptCAD Rapid Artists Project at our event. Nancy also contributed ideas to promote the Contemporary Art Gallery at RAPID.

Going beyond the fine art element, give me the quick overview of this year’s RAPID show. What really excites you about RAPID 2010?

RAPID 2010 will bring manufacturing professionals, designers and even artists together to view, explore and discuss new innovations in 3D scanning and rapid prototyping technology. Exhibits, keynotes and presentations will illustrate applications in aerospace and defense; automotive; arts and entertainment, including games; medicine; and sports and recreation. Buyers and end-users of design, prototyping, tooling and direct manufacturing equipment will get a chance to compare processes, talk to industry experts and participate in more than 70 technical presentations.

A few examples of really exciting stuff to see at RAPID 2010:

o Medical presentations will explore uses of additive manufacturing for organ replacement, prosthetics, spinal injuries and even eye lenses.

o The Arts and Entertainment track will show how additive manufacturing can create special effects for movies, produce new types of sculptures and develop video games for education.

o In the Aerospace and Defense track, speakers will discuss rapid prototyping for airplane parts.

o Presentations in the automotive/motor vehicle session will cover the technology’s application for machining and tooling.

o An interactive session will use social media to solicit questions before the event and a panel of experts will review and answer them in a live broadcast

We also have outstanding keynote presenters that will start the conference daily. And, as always, the technology on the show floor will provide an experience that enhances ones knowledge of the industry.

We are also excited to be in Anaheim at the Disneyland Hotel. Walt Disney was an individual with an amazing imagination. He contributed much to our creative thinking as a county and to the development of American culture. Our industry supports art and creativity in a similar way.

Do you have any final thoughts on SME and fine art?

Personally, I love art. My early training as an industrial arts instructor taught me the value of using your hands as a learning tool. In that environment, a student is encouraged to be creative; mixing that with traditional industrial skills. SME is also committed to education. SME’s Educational Foundation supports summers camps and numerous activities to encourage careers in manufacturing. With rapid technologies, art is another option for further study.

For more information, visit www.sme.org/rapid, or follow us on Twitter: @Rapid_Event.

1 Comment »

  1. […] Hit this link for more background on Mikola and the Rapid Artists Project, and find the entire interview from the link below: I understand SME is interested in the intersection of fine art and technologies like rapid prototyping, additive manufacturing, 3D visualization/modeling, etc. (I’m sure I’ve left some tech areas out of that short list.) What would you like to see in the future in terms of integrating SME and fine art? What comes next after RAPID 2010 and the SculptCAD RAPID ARTISTS Project? SME is fortunate to have dedicated members and event advisers including the Rapid Technologies and Additive Manufacturing (RTAM) group. RTAM advocated the addition of a presentation addressing the use of the technology applied to art. Most recently, many prominent artists, including speaker Bathsheba Grossman, have associated with and used the technology to create and present art. […]

    Pingback by SME’s Gary Mikola on the SculptCAD Rapid Artists Project « SculptCAD's Blog — February 25, 2010 @ 6:33 pm


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