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AFRL Reopens Renovated Additive Manufacturing Lab

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The Air Force Research Laboratory welcomed the addition of a novel 3D printing system in its newly-renovated Additive Manufacturing Laboratory, which reopened Nov. 9. 

AFRL allocated around $6 million in funding to cover the costs of the modernization. The renovation aims to cut down expenses, reduce research lead times and enhance the safety of its workers, as well as heighten efficiency and ensure the integrity of manufactured materials, the laboratory said Thursday.

The new 3D printing system was modified with a “fully open software control system” that enables users to implement more control over how feedstock is manipulated by laser beams within the printer so as to produce specific 3D-printed objects.

Among the facility’s new additions is also a computed tomography machine and suite system. The apparatus can be utilized for non-destructive testing of materials produced by additive manufacturing to detect and quantify internal geometry, defects, manufacturing errors and failure modes.