Dr. Sandipan Mishra, a professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has won a five-year US$400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to improve the additive manufacturing (AM) process.
Dr Mishra, who works in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering, plans to use the money to investigate and develop new sensing and controls paradigms to help develop additive manufacturing, according to a press release. The project, titled “Multi-objective learning control strategies for additive manufacturing,” will develop advanced sensing and controls algorithms for improving the precision and reliability of additive manufacturing technologies, including 3D printing.
Despite its tremendous potential, additive manufacturing is hampered by poor process reliability and throughput, and systems currently are not precise or robust enough to be scaled up and used for commercial, mass-manufactured products, it is suggested.
Dr Mishra’s goal is to overcome this challenge by creating smarter control systems that will use sensor measurements to help 3D printers learn and adapt as they are operating. Many additive manufacturing technologies work by applying or printing thin layers of materials on top of one another, constructing the object from the ground up, one layer at a time. Dr Mishra will create and design a feedback system that will enable an additive manufacturing system to make small, iterative refinements in the midst of a printing job.
The system will be able to continually assess the progress of a print job, and then automatically make necessary adjustments to ensure the finished good will have specific pre-determined properties or geometries. These process improvements could boost the overall reliability of 3D printing, and open the door to creating larger and faster additive manufacturing technologies suitable for industrial-scale production.
The grant, part of a Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) is given to faculty members at the beginning of their academic careers and is one of NSF’s most competitive awards.
“We congratulate Dr Mishra for receiving an NSF CAREER Award to support his promising and timely research into control systems for additive manufacturing,” said David Rosowsky, dean of the School of Engineering at Rensselaer. “The CAREER Award is among the highest honours a new faculty member can receive, and recognizes their potential for significant scholarly impact early in their academic career.”
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Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!