Additive Manufacturing

Additive Manufacturing (AM) has become an important technology for building complex shape components with high strength and ductility directly from a CAD solid model. This technology has the potential to be an energy-efficient alternative or complement to current manufacturing processes, such as forging and investment casting to fabricate components, by reduction of material waste, process steps, and environmental impact. If the challenges (shrink and throughput) of additive fabrication can be overcome, enabling equivalent replacement of existing components, then one can envision leveraging the capability of the additive processes to fabricate the “unmanufacturable” equivalent.  This page features some of our recent research activities in the area of Additive Manufacturing.

Effect of Build Angle on Surface Properties of Nickel Superalloys Processed
by Selective Laser Melting

Although AM technique has many advantages, one of the biggest challenges facing AM processes is the resulting surface quality of the as-built parts. The purpose of this research was to study the surface properties of Inconel 718 alloys fabricated by Selective Laser Melting. The effect of build angle on the surface properties of as-built parts was investigated. Two sets of sample geometries including cube and rectangular artifacts were considered in the study.

Effect of build orientation on the microstructure and properties of selective laser melted Ti-6Al-4V alloy

One of the challenges of AM technology is the inability to generate repeatable microstructure and mechanical properties. In this work, the effect of build orientation on microstructure and properties of Ti-6Al-4V specimens manufactured by Selective Laser Melting (SLM) was studied. Tensile and fracture toughness tests were conducted on the specimens, along with optical and scanning electron microscopy, and surface roughness analysis. 

Open Source Wire-Arc Additive Manufacturing System

Our goal in this project was to design, build and test a metal 3D printer that is low cost and efficient. The students redesigned and fabricated an open-source 3D printer. Then they developed the metal printing capability by adding a TIG welder that required overcoming several challenges, extensive programming, design and fabrication.

Open Source Selective Laser Sintering System

The objective of this project was to design, build a Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) machine. The SLS machine uses a laser to melt powder material and build a 3D geometry layer by layer. This complicated project challenged students to develop skills in manufacturing, laser optics, microcontroller programming, circuit design, materials science, and machine design.