SBIR Phase I: Affordable On-Demand Additive Manufacturing

Period of Performance: 12/15/2016 - 11/30/2017

$225K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

ThinkIncubate, Inc.
685 East Street
Dedham, MA 02026
Firm POC, Principal Investigator

Abstract

This SBIR Phase I project will develop a proof-of-concept for a new approach in the field of Additive Manufacturing (AM). Pioneered few decades ago, AM has the potential to enable the manufacture of products from the inside out, enabling the production of lighter products with higher structural integrity than is possible with conventional subtractive manufacturing techniques. However, legacy AM approaches have failed to spark transformational change. Because of bedeviling technical constraints, legacy AM is restricted to niche applications and has utility only in specific circumstances. By contrast, this approach has broad potential. The broader societal impact is to change the entire competitive stance of US manufacturing by revolutionizing industrial design and enhancing local manufacturing. This project has the potential to advance science and the prosperity of US manufacturing industries. Its commercial impact may span industries from jet engine design, satellites, medical imaging, astronomy, and human health. This SBIR Phase I project will demonstrate the feasibility of an inexpensive functional Metallic Additive Manufacturing (AM) technology capable of manufacturing useful, production-grade objects built with composite materials. The project will address many issues inhibiting the broad use of AM technology. With current AM techniques output (1) is prohibitively expensive, (2) has inconsistent strength, (3) is subject to breaking and cracking, (4) is not production-grade, and (5) has unacceptable fit-and-finish for design products. Furthermore, legacy Metallic AM platforms are large, are expensive ($500,000 or more), operate at high temperatures, and are isolated from the engineers who rely on them. The key objectives of this project are (1) to demonstrate the feasibility of a new inexpensive approach and (2) to achieve several crucial milestones involving the precision of location, thickness, strength, uniformity and reliability of AM output.