Shanon VanDeren, President of AMUG on what to expect from AMUG 2024

The story goes that AMUG started in 1988 with just a handful of people meeting to share knowledge of 3D Printing. At the time, the founding industry users group was called 3D Systems North American Stereolithography Users Group, users group solely focused on the advancement of stereolithography (SL) use with the owners and operators of 3D Systems’ equipment. Today, AMUG educates and supports users of all AM technologies. And the best part is, while AM companies can provide support in the organization of the event, this “open space” style has allowed users to shape the development of hardware, software, materials, and applications based on their needs.

Shanon VanDeren

To help the industry prepare for the 2024 edition of this important event for the AM community, we asked Shanon VanDeren, President of AMUG, to share the highlights of their 2023 event and what will make their event worthy to be attended in 2024.

3DA: How would you summarize the highlights of the 2023 edition of your event?

The response to the 2023 AMUG Conference was overwhelmingly positive, with many highlights over the five-day agenda. One of the standout moments was the engaging and interactive keynote delivered by Nicholas Jacobson (CU Anschutz Medical Campus) and Rob Ducey (LAIKA Studios), which emphasized the benefits of collaboration. This collaboration was sparked at a previous AMUG conference, and attendees were thrilled to hear the outcomes. Participants also enjoyed the circuit of hands-on workshops where they could easily move in and out of workshops as they desired. Other highlights included perennial favorites such as the Innovators Showcase, Technical Competition, and off-site events.

3DA: Can you tease one exciting new feature or aspect that attendees can look forward to in the 2024 edition?

Over the past 36 years, the program for AMUG Conferences has been carefully crafted and refined. In 2024, the agenda will remain largely unchanged and will include the conference’s staple features, such as keynote speeches by Jason Lopes (Gentle Giant Studios) and Olaf Diegel (University of Auckland, New Zealand) and the Innovators Showcase, which will feature Greg Morris (Zeda, Inc.).

AMUG has acted on attendee feedback requesting even more technical content and will be taking the AMUG Conference ‘Back to the USER.’ That theme will carry over to the Thursday family dinner, where all are invited to dress in 1980s-style garb to celebrate the founding year and original principles of AMUG in a Back to the Future way.

Also in response to attendee requests, the AMUG 2024 program will have an extra day for the AMUGexpo. The AMUGexpo will now run from Sunday night through Tuesday night, and the biggest evening event, the Special Event and Dinner, has been moved to Wednesday (March 13) evening.

Credit: AMUG – workshops

3DA: What advice would you give to future participants (visitors and/or exhibitors)?

To fully benefit from the AMUG Conference, both attendees and exhibitors need to adopt a different mindset than what is typically expected at conferences and trade shows. The AMUG Conference is designed to foster conversations, information exchange, and collaboration, so attendees should plan to actively participate in discussions from breakfast through dinner. It is recommended that attendees clear their workloads before the conference to fully engage in the experience rather than spending part of the day in a hotel room. For exhibitors, it is suggested that they take on the role of a resource, similar to that of an application engineer, to provide valuable insights, coaching, problem-solving, and tips for effective use. By being an active part of the community and engaging in conversations, exhibitors and attendees can make the most of their experience at AMUG 2024.

AMUG will be held from March 10 to 14, 2024 in Chicago.

This article was first published in the November/December edition of 3D ADEPT Mag

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