Meet the newest $500,000 addition to the Industrial Manufacturing Engineering (IME) Department: a new selective laser melting 3D printer.
With help from Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), students are now able to produce high-quality engineering projects and further expand the “Learn by Doing” experience.
Located in the Grant M. Brown Engineering building, the printer is currently on loan to the university by Lawrence Livermore National Lab, which is collaborating with Cal Poly on cutting-edge research and education for the next generation of engineers.
This printer is used to create prototypes and parts from metallic powders, and can produce almost any geometric shape that wouldn’t be possible with other conventional manufacturing.
EHS was a crucial part of testing, data gathering and implementing new procedures to ensure this piece of equipment is safe to use. Tim Hastings, environmental health specialist at EHS worked with IME faculty and students, including Xuan Wang, Martin Koch, Trian Georgeou and Hajime Yamanaka, to evaluate risk factors and work to mitigate hazards.
Based on the data collected, the team established proper operational training and also implemented an oxygen detector system to detect any possible gas leaks. Hastings also helped select protective equipment for students, like goggles, gloves, fire-retardant disposable lab coats, and proper fire extinguishers.
The selective laser melting 3D printer has rapidly expedited the creation process, and has opened the door for student projects like never before.