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Additive Manufacturing

ASME's Additive Manufacturing Group is interested in exploring the design and manufacturing implications of 3D printing of polymers, metals, and other advanced materials.
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News & Updates

  • Infographic: Crowdsourcing Additive Manufacturing

    Two million heads are better than one.

    That's the driving principle behind crowdsourced design, a process that draws upon the collective brainpower of the online engineering community to solve a complicated engineering problem.

    Popular crowdsourcing design websites like GrabCAD are used by several types of organizations that need to optimize the design of a specific product or part.

    Learn how crowdsourcing and AM work together.

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  • 7 Amazing Things Seen at ASME'S AM3D

     Didn't make it to ASME's AM3D conference this year? Check out our roundup of seven incredible objects and concepts we saw onsite. If you did make it, let us know what we missed in the comments!

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  • A Diamond in the Rough: The Challenge of Finding Great Talent in AM

    When it came time for Peter Lau to hire employees for his 3D printing startup, he ran into a problem almost immediately.

    The candidates who applied typically had only one of the two skill sets needed to get the job—they either had great technical skills and limited people skills, or great people skills and limited technical skills.

    So Lau decided to base his hiring decisions on something other than just tangible skills: He started asking candidates to describe their passions for 3D printing.

    Learn more about the unique demands of hiring in AM.

    The new frontier of additive manufacturing can be intimidating to navigate; fortunately, there’s the ASME AM3D conference to help guide you as you integrate AM into your business. Learn more about the ASME Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing Conference and Expo here.

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  • ASME AM3D July Roundup

    ASME's AM3D conference is only days away! There's no better way to get ready for the event than to get to know the speakers and organizers who will be sharing their innovative viewpoints in Boston.

    • 3D Printing for Hollywood and Beyond: Jason Lopes, Legacy Effects. Jason Lopes builds wearable 3D-printed masterpieces for the movies in his role as lead systems engineer at Legacy Effects.The AM3D keynote speaker shares how the meeting of art and engineering sparks innovation, and the ways that blockbuster-based designs lead to real-world products.
    • Why Everything You Take for Granted about Manufacturing Is Wrong. Think you’ve mastered manufacturing? Darrell Wallace of Youngstown State University and Assimilogic and 3Degrees founder Dr. Mike Vasquez explain how additive manufacturing is changing all the rules.
    • Question of the Month. July's question: What types of education and workforce development initiatives are needed to fully realize the potential of additive manufacturing?
    • Speaker Spotlight: Wayne King, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Supporting the nuclear weapons complex is hard work—and it's even harder when you have to wait a decade for an AM part or process to be certified. ASME AM3D speaker Wayne King explains the hold up and what the Livermore lab is doing to speed things along.
    • Speaker Spotlight: Brent Stucker, 3DSIM. Could you or your organization benefit from more time, money, and materials? AM3D speaker Brent Stucker wrote the book on AM, and now his company, 3DSIM, is working to usher it into the next generation of innovation using what-if software simulations.
    • Speaker Spotlight: Joe Beaman. University of Texas in Austin professor Joe Beaman helped develop the selective laser sintering process back in the '80s. He says additive manufacturing is still waiting on its breakthrough moment for industry to universally embrace it.

    We'll see you at AM3D August 2–5!

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  • ASME AM3D Speaker Spotlight: Joe Beaman

    University of Texas in Austin professor Joe Beaman helped develop the selective laser sintering process back in the '80s. He says additive manufacturing is still waiting on its breakthrough moment for industry to universally embrace it.

    Learn more about Joe Beaman and his perspective on AM.

    Hear more from Joe Beaman and a host of 3D printing experts and innovators at ASME's AM3D conference in Boston this August. Registration is open—see the current agenda, and visit the registration page to get best prices now.

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  • ASME AM3D Speaker Spotlight: Brent Stucker, 3DSIM

    Innovation in additive manufacturing (AM) is largely a matter of trial and error, thanks to limited process control, evolving materials, and a lack of established standards.

    Barriers like these introduce considerable uncertainty into AM processes, and companies waste a considerable amount of time and money with failed builds on the journey to perfecting a part.

    Dr. Brent Stucker co-founded 3DSIM, an AM simulation-software company, in 2013 after realizing there was a great need for predictive computational modeling in the 3D-printing space.

    Learn more about Brent Stucker and 3DSIM.

    Hear more from Brent Stucker and a host of 3D printing experts and innovators at ASME's AM3D conference in Boston this August. Registration is open—see the current agenda, and visit the registration page to get best prices now.

    By Kate Dougherty, independent writer.

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  • ASME AM3D Speaker Spotlight: Wayne King, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    It can take up to 10 years to get a new production system for a complex metal part qualified, and sometimes even longer for the kinds of mission-critical parts produced by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).

    For organizations such as the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which supports the NNSA and its nuclear weapons complex, that's far too long.

    "There was a survey that was done fairly recently that showed that 47 percent of companies surveyed believed that qualification, or part quality, was going to be a barrier to their adoption of additive manufacturing (AM)," says Wayne King, who leads Livermore's Accelerated Certification of Additively Manufactured Metals Initiative.

    Learn about how Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is working to accelerate AM certification.

    Hear more from Wayne King and a host of 3D printing experts and innovators at ASME's AM3D conference in Boston this August. Registration is open—see the current agenda, and visit the registration page to get best prices now.

    By Holly B. Martin, independent writer.

    0 Comments
  • ASME AM3D Question of the Month

    Every month leading up to the ASME AM3D conference in August, we are posing a question to select conference speakers and advisory committee members about additive manufacturing. Our goal is to provide readers with thought-provoking and relevant information related to additive manufacturing.

    July's question:
    What types of education and workforce development initiatives are needed to fully realize the potential of additive manufacturing?

    Read the responses from experts presenting at and coordinating ASME AM3D.

    These speakers and many more additive manufacturing leaders will be sharing their perspectives on the future at the ASME Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing Conference and Expo. Registration is open—see the current agenda and visit the registration page to get the best prices now.

    2 Comments
  • ASME AM3D: Why Everything You Take for Granted about Manufacturing Is Wrong

    Additive manufacturing may be gaining ground in industrial applications, but that doesn't mean it's well understood.

    Additive manufacturing (AM) is more than a single technology—it's a new way of thinking about the future of manufacturing, according to Darrell Wallace, a professor at Youngstown State University and president of Assimilogic, and 3Degrees founder Dr. Mike Vasquez.

    And that new train of thought, Wallace and Vasquez say, changes nearly everything people once knew to be true about manufacturing.

    Read more about ASME's recent webinar.

    Hear more from Darrell Wallace, Mike Vasquez, and a host of 3D printing experts and innovators at ASME's AM3D conference in Boston this August. Registration is open—see the current agenda, and visit the registration page to get best prices now.

    By Kate Dougherty, independent writer.

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  • 3D Printing for Hollywood and Beyond at ASME’s AM3D: Jason Lopes, Legacy Effects

    Jason Lopes commands the attention of every room he walks into these days.

    He's been called influential, engaging and the most interesting speaker on 3D printing today—and with 3D-printing work of his featured in Hollywood films such as Iron Man, Jurassic World, and Pacific Rim, the praise is well-deserved.

    Lopes is the lead systems engineer at Legacy Effects, a studio that uses additive technology, along with the talents of many artists and designers, to create stunning visuals for Hollywood and beyond.

    Lopes has been making the rounds at 3D-printing conferences; at ASME's AM3D conference in August, the keynote speaker will chat about how the expanding functionality of additive manufacturing (AM) is disrupting industries like his.

    Learn more about Jason Lopes and his remarkable 3D-printed creations.


    Hear more from Jason Lopes and a host of 3D printing experts and innovators at ASME's AM3D conference in Boston this August. Registration is open—see the current agenda, and visit the registration page to get best prices now.

    By Holly B. Martin, independent writer.

    0 Comments
  • ASME AM3D June Roundup

    It's been an exciting and busy month for AM3D! Check out June's stories for news on one speaker's recent achievement, takeaways from the recent AM webinar, and insights from our wide range of speakers and organizers.

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  • ASME AM3D: Voxel8 named one of MIT Technology Review's 50 smartest companies

    How did a little Boston-area startup called Voxel8 get ahead of technology giants such as Uber, Facebook, and Snapchat on MIT Technology Review's list of 50 smartest companies in 2015?

    Daniel Oliver, co-founder and business director of Voxel8, doesn't really know, but he'll gladly take the honor. He says the team found out about its No. 17 spot on the list the evening of June 23.

    “We were very surprised and honored to be named in the same breath as Apple and Tesla and SpaceX. It was pretty great," Oliver says.

    Read more about how Voxel8's innovations are rocketing it to the top of the field.

    Hear more from Daniel Oliver and a host of 3D-printing experts and innovators at ASME's AM3D conference in Boston this August. Registration is open—see the current agenda, and visit the registration page to get best prices now.

    Tracey Lindeman is an independent writer.

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  • 5 Takeaway Quotes: “Why Everything You Take for Granted about Manufacturing Is Wrong”

    Manufacturing’s been an integral part of mechanical engineering for hundreds of years, and after that amount of time, some ideas can be so entrenched that they seem unassailable. But with the introduction of additive manufacturing (AM) to the scene, a lot of those paradigms need a fresh look.

    In advance of their talks at ASME’s AM3D conference, Darrell Wallace and Dr. Mike Vasquez took aim at these traditional concepts and provided a new perspective on the future of engineering during ASME’s latest webinar. Here are five takeaway quotes from the presentation, which you can view in our archives now:


    “Digital media moved the value from the physical object to the data. 3D printing and model-based technical data packages are quickly doing the same thing for manufacturing.” —Darrell Wallace on the implications of AM moving the industry toward a digital design communications platform and away from proprietary engineering drawings


    “Complexity is your ally. You can make assemblies that rather than being 21 parts can be down to 7 parts…It’s a really great potential for 3D printing, but from a company perspective it’s hard to do. Identifying which 3D printing system is one question, but identifying really what you’re applying it towards and if you have the infrastructure to do that is just as challenging…and is one of the growing pains of the industry.” —Dr. Mike Vasquez on the potential and pitfalls of AM


    “All seven of the additive manufacturing processes have existed for less time than some of the most recent iterations of [traditional] manufacturing standards.”—Darrell Wallace on why traditional standards processes are a challenge in the AM sphere


    “There could be continuous improvement, much like a software model, where you have an app that comes out with new updates every month…because everything’s digital [you could] have an opportunity to really create improvement continuously, so a part you manufactured yesterday can be improved tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day.” —Dr. Mike Vasquez on the flexibility of AM


    “There’s a misconception that people who will lead additive manufacturing are the experts in manufacturing…Manufacturing experts think like manufacturing experts. They’re extremely good at applying foundational rules, both explicit and implicit, for success within their industry. It’s virtually impossible for them to break out of those boundaries, and especially hard to do so when the changes that may be necessary challenge everything they understood about design rules, material selection, and even business models. Truly innovative thinking seldom comes from within an industry.” —Darrell Wallace on the future of AM innovation


    For more from Wallace and Vasquez, register for the 2015 ASME AM3D conference, and watch this space for more in-depth coverage coming soon!

    1 Comments
  • ASME AM3D Question of the Month: What Innovations Will Propel Additive Manufacturing?

    Every month leading up to the ASME AM3D conference in August, we are posing a question to select conference speakers and advisory committee members about additive manufacturing. Our goal is to provide readers with thought-provoking and relevant information related to additive manufacturing.

    June's question:
    What technologies are being developed that will allow for the ubiquitous use of additive manufacturing?

    Read the responses from experts presenting at ASME AM3D.

    These speakers and many more additive manufacturing leaders will be sharing their perspectives on the future at the ASME Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing Conference and Expo. Registration is open—see the current agenda and visit the registration page to get the best prices now.

    0 Comments
  • ASME AM3D Speaker Spotlight: Meng Qu, Schlumberger

    Additive manufacturing has been a boon to innovations in materials design, and it's only just beginning.

    Innovations in plastic and metal materials have created entirely new industries and products, and researchers have begun using additive manufacturing (AM) to experiment on the micro- and nanoscale in search of more resilient and sophisticated materials.

    One such researcher is Meng Qu from Schlumberger, a major player in technology services for the oil and gas industries.

    Learn more about how Meng Qu and Schlumberger approach 3D printing on the level of microstructure.

    Hear more from Meng Qu and a host of 3D printing experts and innovators at ASME's AM3D conference in Boston this August. Registration is open—see the current agenda, and visit the registration page to get best prices now.

    By Victoria Young, independent writer.

    1 Comments
  • ASME AM3D Speaker Spotlight: Simin Zhou, UL

    New uses and applications for additive manufacturing are unfurling exponentially, but not all 3D-printed objects are created equal.

    Standards for 3D-printed products—as well as for the many steps between ideation and product completion—are all evolving as the uses for additive manufacturing (AM) multiply. However, it's not always evident to which standards manufacturers should comply.

    Generally speaking, official standards in the realm of AM are needed to ensure 3D-printed products are safe, uniform, reliable, and of a high quality. But in industries where technology evolves faster than the standards, innovation can lead to confusion.

    Simin Zhou, the vice president of digital manufacturing for UL, will attempt to clear up some of the confusion at a panel discussion on AM standards at ASME's Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing Conference and Expo in August.

    Learn more about Simin Zhou and UL's work toward developing guidelines for additive manufacturing.

    Hear more from Simin Zhou and a host of 3D printing experts and innovators at ASME's AM3D conference in Boston this August. Registration is open—see the current agenda, and visit the registration page to get best prices now.

    By Holly B. Martin, independent writer.

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  • Spotlight on Tim Simpson, CIMP-3D Co-Director and ASME AM3D Chair

    Imagine a 3D printer able to print any material at any location in three-dimensional space. You could create functionally graded metallic parts, combined with plastics, electronics, and ceramics—perhaps integrated into bone tissue as a bionic implant.

    It's crazy to think about, right?

    But it's not so crazy to Tim Simpson, professor of mechanical and industrial engineering at Penn State University and the chair of ASME's Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing Conference and Expo.

    Learn more about Tim Simpson and Penn State's Center for Innovative Materials Processing Through Direct Digital Deposition (CIMP-3D).

    In addition to chairing ASME AM3D, Tim Simpson will be emceeing the conference, which takes place at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston Aug. 2-5. Registration is open—see the current agenda and visit the registration page to get the best prices now.

    By Holly B. Martin, independent writer.

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  • ASME AM3D May Roundup

    ASME's AM3D conference is fast approaching, and we've been talking to the presenters and organizers who make it such an amazing and thought-provoking event. Check out this month's stories:

    • Speaker Spotlight: Daniel Oliver, Voxel8Voxel8 is a Massachusetts-based startup looking to change the way the world creates 3D-printed electronics—and it may be on its way to accomplishing that soon thanks to the introduction of a technology that allows devices to be printed in one piece, wires and all.
    • May Question of the Month. This month we asked five experts "What future innovations will revolutionize the additive manufacturing industry?"
    • Speaker Spotlight: Don Godfrey. Don Godfrey has been instrumental in shaping the future of aviation manufacturing and its quality assurance in his role at Honeywell Aerospace. He discusses what it will take for more companies to feel comfortable bringing additive manufacturing to their supply chain.
    • Can Computers Design Better Products Than Humans? What if a computer could automatically generate hundreds upon hundreds of variations of a design to solve a specific problem? Autodesk’s Gordon Kurtenbach discusses how his company may soon make that a reality with its Project Dreamcatcher.
    • Senvol Weighs the Economics of an Additive Manufacturing Strategy. How can companies determine if additive manufacturing makes financial sense for them? Senvol’s Annie Wang and Zach Simkin discuss their strategies for helping companies make the best decisions when incorporating AM.  

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  • ASME AM3D: Senvol Weighs the Economics of an Additive Manufacturing Strategy

    New opportunities for business innovation in additive manufacturing are multiplying in this fast-growing, multi-billion dollar market, but the full impact of the technology on a business's financials remains unclear.

    Senvol is an additive manufacturing (AM) analytics company that aims to change that.

    Founded by Annie Wang and Zach Simkin, Senvol focuses on showing the value AM can bring to a business, not only in prototyping or production but also as a tool that can be incorporated into the supply chain.

    Learn more about the economics of an additive manufacturing strategy.

    Hear more from Senvol's Zach Simkin and a host of 3D printing experts and innovators at ASME's AM3D conference in Boston this August. Registration is open—see the current agenda, and visit the registration page to get best prices now.

    By Victoria Young, independent writer.

    0 Comments
  • ASME AM3D May Question of the Month: Don Godfrey, Honeywell Aerospace

    Every month leading up to the ASME AM3D conference in August, we pose a question to select conference speakers and advisory committee members about additive manufacturing. This month's question is "What future innovations will revolutionize the additive manufacturing industry?" To see more answers to this question, check out the full piece.


    From Don Godfrey, Engineering fellow and AM Lead all divisions, Honeywell Aerospace:

    "Topology optimization methods allow designers to minimize the mass of a part and still maintain the structural integrity behind the original design, allowing engineers to find the best design that meets the requirements. Additive manufacturing technology is a 'complexity is free' manufacturing opportunity, [so it] will be used to produce these optimized shapes.

    "A vast majority of the parts currently being built using additive technology were designed either as a casting, or a welded structure, or as a machining. Topological optimization methods can be used to reduce 15 to 45 percent of the weight [of those parts]."

    Read more about Don Godfrey's views on AM in his AM3D Speaker Spotlight.

    About Don: Donald Godfrey holds a BS from Purdue University and an MS from Indiana Wesleyan University.  He has always worked at continuing his education and earned a Continuation Education Diploma from The University of Wisconsin—Madison in the area of Value Engineering and also a Masters Certificate from The George Washington University.

    He is a Honeywell Certified Black Belt and Lean Expert and holds Certified Project Management status from the Project Management Institute (PMI).

    Donald holds various patents, and four of them are deal with the technology of Additive Manufacturing (AM).  He has several patents pending at the United States Patent Office all dealing with AM Technology.

    Most of his time in AME he has worked with Honeywell Personnel in the Advanced Technology Group and has co-authored several white papers and presentations that have been presented at various North American Technology and Metal Symposiums.


    Don will be at the ASME AM3D conference in Boston this August to share his talk on ""In- Process 3D Geometry Measurement and Reconstruction for Direct Metal Laser Sintering." Registration is open—see the current agenda and visit the registration page to get the best prices now.

    Reporting by Holly B. Martin. Holly is an independent writer.
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  • ASME AM3D: Can Computers Design Better Products Than Humans?

    What if a computer could automatically generate hundreds upon hundreds of variations of a design to solve a specific problem?

    Autodesk may soon make that a reality with its Project Dreamcatcher.

    Gordon Kurtenbach, Autodesk's senior director of research, will speak at ASME's Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing Conference and Expo (AM3D) in August on the future of goal-directed design and programmable matter—that is, matter that can be fully described, understood, and controlled digitally by computers.

    Learn more about Gordon Kurtenbach and the future of additive manufacturing.

    By Victoria Young, independent writer

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  • ASME AM3D Speaker Spotlight: Don Godfrey, Honeywell Aerospace

    By Kate Dougherty

    It's going to take a lot more than a collection of one-off 3D-printed drones to make most industries comfortable with the idea of additive manufacturing (AM).

    First, there's the issue of whether taking on the cost of implementing AM in the supply chain is a worthwhile expenditure, both in terms of financial and human capital.

    Then there's the issue of quality control and establishing standards.

    That's where Don Godfrey comes in.

    An eight-year AM veteran at Honeywell Aerospace, Godfrey has been instrumental in shaping the future of aviation manufacturing and its quality assurance. He is also a certified project manager with five AM-related patents, and a well-known authority on additive technologies.

    Learn more about ASME AM3D speaker Don Godfrey and his work with Honeywell Aerospace.

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  • ASME AM3D May Question of the Month: Joe Manzo, Titan Industries


    Every month leading up to the ASME AM3D conference in August, we pose a question to select conference speakers and advisory committee members about additive manufacturing. This month's question is "What future innovations will revolutionize the additive manufacturing industry?" To see more answers to this question, check out the full piece.


    From Joe Manzo, Executive Officer, Titan Industries:

    “In order to move forward, additive manufacturing (AM) must be able to meet the demands of a production line. Production parts require quality standards, equipment certification, and repeatability.

    "Currently, these standards do not exist, and qualification must be done on a part-by-part basis, which eliminates one of the major economic benefits of additive manufacturing. The development of quality standards and equipment certification will allow industry to fully take advantage of the benefits of additive manufacturing."

    About Joe: Joe Manzo graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. Since graduating in 2007, he has worked at Orbital Sciences as a senior mechanical engineer. He has spent the past seven years performing analysis in the fields of fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, and structural dynamics on a variety of launch vehicle programs. Last year, he received his professional engineering license in mechanical engineering.

    In 2014, Joe founded a startup company (Titan Industries) to focus on advancing metal additive manufacturing within the aerospace industry. Specializing in design for additive manufacturing (DFAM) techniques, Titan Industries is focused on mass reduction through changes in material, the use of cellular structures, and structural optimization.


    Joe will be at the ASME AM3D conference in Boston this August to share his talk on "Component Redesign with a Focus on Function." Registration is open—see the current agenda and visit the registration page to get the best prices now.

    Reporting by Holly B. Martin. Holly is an independent writer.

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  • ASME AM3D Speaker Spotlight: Daniel Oliver, Voxel8

    Image: Voxel8

    Voxel8 is a Massachusetts-based startup looking to change the way the world creates 3D-printed electronics—and it may be on its way to accomplishing that soon thanks to the introduction of a technology that allows devices to be printed in one piece, wires and all.

    The company's 3D Electronics Printer was named by Fast Company as one of the top nine best ideas at last February's Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

    Read more about ASME AM3D speaker Daniel Oliver and Voxel8's 3D Electronics Printer.

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  • Guest Blog Post: Additive Manufacturing – Hype or Reality?

    A View from Penn State’s Center for Innovative Materials Processing through Direct Digital Deposition (CIMP-3D) – a DARPA-funded Additive Manufacturing Demonstration Facility

     

    Timothy W. Simpson1, Rich Martukanitz2, and Gary Messing3

     

    Not a day passes without another cool application or advancement in additive manufacturing.  KickstarterTM campaigns for 3D printers are launched regularly, and stories abound about people printing replacement limbs, medical implants, even living tissue to capitalize on the flexibility and unique capabilities of additive manufacturing.  The hype for 3D printing is unprecedented even though the technology has been around for over two decades, but is it really going to disrupt manufacturing as we know it?

     

    From our perspective, the short answer is yes.  We run the DARPA Open Manufacturing Program’s Additive Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, a collaborative effort between Penn State University and the Applied Research Laboratory (CIMP-3D, www.cimp-3d.org).  CIMP-3D seeks to (1) advance enabling technologies required to successfully implement AM technology for critical components and structures, (2) provide technical assistance to industry through selection, demonstration, and validation of AM technology as an “honest broker”, and (3) promote the potential of AM technology through training, education and dissemination of information.

     

    Since opening our doors in January 2013, we have had over 700 visitors to our center, and the interest continues to grow.  The majority of the interest is in the industries you would expect: aerospace, defense, medical, and automotive.  These industries track new manufacturing advances very closely, and additive manufacturing is already starting to deliver with its ability to produce unique and complex geometries that were not possible—or were way too expensive to produce—with subtractive manufacturing.  For instance, aerospace companies are using additive manufacturing to light weight components and improve the buy-to-fly ratio of material for parts fabricated in-house.  Turbine manufacturers are exploiting novel internal geometries to improve cooling as a consequence of process flexibility enabled by additive manufacturing.  Meanwhile, numerous medical implant devices are in the works to take advantage of additive manufacturing’s ability to produce low-cost custom components with intricate geometries that facilitate bone in-growth and speed recovery.  High volume, high throughput industries, such as automotive and many consumer goods, are intrigued but watching closely from the sidelines to see how things play out because additive manufacturing still has some real challenges.  

     

    And what are those challenges?  Well, additive manufacturing is as much about producing a part as it is about making a material.  In the case of metal 3D printing, which is our primary focus, the process starts with metal in a powder form, which is then melted or sintered to create a 3D object, depending on the process.  Remember those phase diagrams from your Introduction to Material Science course?  Well, they are critical when fabricating metal parts using 3D printing as the processing parameters strongly influence which phases exist in the final part.  Consequently, a considerable amount of work and research is underway to predict when we might get alpha or beta phase in our titanium alloys or to avoid certain phases when working with Inconel—what is good for one industry may not be good for another (e.g., gamma phases are good for aerospace applications but not so in the oil and gas industry). 

     

    To complicate matters further, the powder properties (e.g., particle size, shape, distribution) have a huge impact on the material microstructure depending on what processing parameters are used (e.g., laser power, speed, scan pattern), and this in turns dictates the material properties of the final part.  The thermal-mechanical history of the process can lead to distortions and warping given the high thermal gradients—heating and cooling—that occur as the part is being fabricated, and post-processing and heat treatment (e.g., HIP, annealing) are often needed to avoid cracking as the part cools to room temperature.  Many researchers are developing and validating models for additive manufacturing processes and investigating methods for real-time process control to validate these models, and in turn, providing closed-loop feedback, which is currently lacking on many additive manufacturing processes.

     

    So, while there may be a lot of hype, the reality is – additive manufacturing is here and will accelerate as we overcome these and related obstacles.  These obstacles are not insurmountable, and we encourage everyone to find ways to collaborate on related AM efforts and rally behind national efforts like NAMII (National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, www.namii.org) to leverage available funding opportunities so that the United States does not fall behind in the race to advance this critical manufacturing technology.

     

     

    1 Professor of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, Penn State University, Co-Director CIMP-3D, ASME Fellow, tws8@engr.psu.edu

     

    2 Head, Laser Processing Division, Applied Research Laboratory, and Director, CIMP-3D, rxm44@arl.psu.edu 

     

    3 Head and Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Penn State University, and Co-Director, CIMP-3D, messing@ems.psu.edu

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