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Scalable, Non-Traditional Additive Manufacturing printing of inexpensive metallic structures



OBJECTIVE: Develop and validate a new class of Additive Manufacturing (AM) processes that has the ability to overcome current technologies limitations 

DESCRIPTION: AM holds the potential to revolutionize supply chains and manufacturing processes, making low-volume and low cost part production. However, no current AM processes meet the Army’s needs to printing large metallic structures, while still preserving surface quality. This has limited their adoption within the Army’s organic base. The Army has an urgent need to develop a new class of AM process. This technology is expected to be easily scalable, operate in open environment, and utilize non-traditional heating sources (no Lasers) and still have the ability to create complex features, internal cavities, and intentional voids. 

PHASE I: In this phase, the small business assess the viability of the proposed technical approach. These studies should include discussions with TARDEC to identify specific process requirements for printing ferrous, Cobalt, and Nickel-based alloys. Work should begin with a detailed requirements analysis and system design specification relevant to a chosen application. The design should clearly demonstrate the ability to be easily scalable and operate without the need of processing chambers / shielding gases. High rating will be placed to technologies that do not require the use of Lasers, Electron Beam, and binders. Post processing techniques, process times, and equipment will need to be defined. Demonstrate feasibility of the developed approach by performing limited testing and characterization of printed parts. Material volume of no larger than 4 cubic feet. Deliverables shall include process development documentation in conjunction with materials property data. 

PHASE II: In Phase II, the small business will build a larger prototype of the AM process and explore the method for the chosen alloy(s) and intended applications. Work should begin with a detailed requirements analysis and system design specification relevant to a chosen application. The project should then proceed to acquire or build the necessary components and build the prototype new system in line with the design. Method development and quality should be verified through materials analysis of test coupons that confirm and improve the theoretical basis for the method. Materials tests that are appropriate for the target application should be developed and used to validate the technology. Build volume is expected to be a minimum of 8+ cubic feet. TARDEC to identify specific requirements for the printing process, such as the type of metallic alloy and part geometry. Test examples will include the following: - A minimum of three metallic alloys will be demonstrated - Test samples showing feature fidelity of a maximum of 1/8" - Advance process control & add in-process inspection - Detailed post processing requirements: process times, equipment, and size limitations - Deliverables include process development documentation, test samples that include intentional designed complex features and internal cavities, material tests results and the prototype system developed under this effort. 

PHASE III: In the final Phase of the project, the contractor shall determine the capabilities for process control and the development of a strategy for qualification. Additionally, the contractor shall integrate and test the solution on several production parts and demonstrate a path to commercialization and certification. Since this is the development of a new additive manufacturing process, the technology should easily transition to other Federal Agency and Private Industry. Military applications include aluminum transfer cases and titanium hatches for Navy ships. Commercial applications are widespread and include produces such as titanium suspension components for the automotive industry and aluminum seat frames for the aerospace industry. 


1: Shea, R., Santos, N., Appleton, R., "Additive Manufacturing in the DoD - Employing a Business Case Analysis", Troika Solutions, LLC, November 16, 2015.

2:  Sanders, L., "Implications of Additive Manufacturing Deployed at the Tactical Edge", Defense Acquisition University Aberdeen Proving Ground United States, 15 Apr 2015.

3:  Zimmerman, B, Allen, E., "Analysis of the Potential Impact of Additive Manufacturing on Army Logistics", Naval Postgraduate School Monterey Ca, Dec 2013.

4:  Hormozi, A. M. "Means of transportation in the next generation of supply chains", SAM Advanced Management Journal, 2013, 78(1), 42–49.

KEYWORDS: Additive Manufacturing, Multi-Materials, 3D Printing, Metallic Alloys, Portable, Joining, Scalable, Near-Net-Shape 


Michael Nikodinovski 

(586) 282-0688 

Mr. Marc Pepi 

(410) 306-0848 

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