Small and medium scale firms – back bone of the American industry- are experiencing rapid changing customer requirements that demands shorter product design and development cycles, customized designs and specifications. This pain point is driving them to look outside of existing means of executing the design-to-production cycles, and look to 3D printing technologies to transform their business and meet the changing customer needs. Currently, however, while polymer 3D printing technologies are easing this pain point, current metal technologies fail to provide small and medium scale firms a viable solution either because of material/part quality issues in indirect metal 3D printing, or they are cost prohibitive for small and medium firms. A metal 3D printing technology that can remove this pain point will have these qualities: low in capital, operational, and maintenance costs, simple and safe to operate in office environments, and produces high quality parts without post processes. Invented and developed by the PI’s team, Directed Acoustic Energy Deposition (DAED) technique-based metal 3D printing can fill this role. A design-to-production cycle enabled by the DAED-based metal 3D printing technology can drastically shorten design cycle time, reduce capital and supply chain costs of product, and product development resource needs. It also enables small and medium firms to provide mass customization of their products when massively parallel tooling of DAED is used. The Directed Acoustic Energy Deposition (DAED) technique is a solid-state direct-write metal 3D printing technique that uses high-frequency acoustic energy and solid metal feedstocks. The PI’s team recently demonstrated 3D printing with DAED in ambient conditions to produce high density (99.5%) metal parts with strength an isotropy of greater than 85% without post processing. As compared with current metal 3D printing technologies, DAED-based metal 3D printing has the potential to be (1) 10 times lower in capital, operational, and maintenance costs, (2) office environment compatible with office equipment-level safety and health requirements for operation and maintenance, and (3) capable of full-density metals without post processing. Broad adoption of DAED-based metal 3D printing can result in a shift in metal additive manufacturing paradigm with a range of massively accessible systems to not only small to medium firms, but also anyone between a home mechanic and large international firms. It is also our broader goal to provide a massively accessible metal 3D printing tool for the community to continue address societal needs such as disaster relief, affordable medical products and health care, STEM education, and point-of-use design and manufacturing of goods Students participate in this program will learn to (1) Identify and quantify DAED process physics-material performance correlation in the context of a 3D printing solution, (2) Determine the commercial viability of DAED by identifying potential market and customers, (3) Develop skill sets to collaborate with engineers, business administrators, entrepreneurs, and patent lawyers, and (4) Identify pathway to transition academic research into real-world applications.
strong interest in hands-on, material processing; Resume and interview with P.I.
Students who are interested in this project can reach out directly to Dr. Hsu with a resume and any questions. Dr. Hsu will set up an interview and guide them through the process.