Mechanical Engineering Professor Jack Beuth is leading a research team in developing tools to improve powder-bed additive manufacturing processes.
Mechanical Engineering Professor Jack Beuth is leading a research team in developing tools to improve powder-bed additive manufacturing processes.

The plan is to make metal components using higher volume manufacturing processes. 

In particular, the research team will work to control and understand metal microstructure and the mechanical properties of products made by two kinds of additive manufacturing processes: the EOS laser sintering process and the Arcam electron beam melting process. Both are powder-based additive manufacturing processes that directly build metal components from metal powders. At present, these two additive manufacturing processes are the most successful at automatically fabricating any 3D shape of metals.

Widening the powder options

"At this time, high-quality results are only guaranteed if powders from the additive manufacturing machine manufacturers are used,” said mechanical engineering professor Jack Beuth, who is leading the research team. “For those processes to become high volume manufacturing processes, a wider range of powder options is needed." 

Beuth's team plans to determine how to alter the additive manufacturing process to allow a wider range of powders to be used. The team includes 12 industry partners representing powder manufacturing, aerospace, medical devices, electronics and other industries. CMU, a founding member of America Makes, has purchased new metals-based additive manufacturing equipment to complete the research.