Additive Manufacturing

Since 2013, we have created and taught courses on additive manufacturing (AM) at MIT in three formats: a first graduate course tailored to a multidisciplinary audience of graduate and advanced undergraduate students; a second graduate course designed for the MEng Manufacturing program; and a week-long short course which has been attended by hundreds of technical professionals and executives from around the world. In each format, the course encompasses in-depth lectures on AM processes, machines, and materials; hands-on laboratories; and a team project.

Our AM education framework is described in the journal Additive Manufacturing, and in this article on MIT news. For instance, in a single semester of the course, teams created prototype machines for 3D printing of molten glass, 3D printing of ice cream, robotic deposition of biodegradable material, direct-write deposition of continuous carbon fiber composites, large-area parallel extrusion of polymers, and in situ optical scanning during 3D printing. Several of these projects led to patent applications, follow-on research, and peer-reviewed publications. The creativity and significance of these outcomes shows that AM can also serve as a vehicle to teach materials and mechanical design principles, in turn inspiring the next generation of digital manufacturing technologies.