Wohlers Associates and America Makes collaborate to offer a one-day design for additive manufacturing (DfAM) course for managers and executives. Wohlers had previously partnered with Protolabs to offer a couse on DfAM. This time, the course will take place on October 24th and will follow the two-day Members Meeting and Exchange (MMX) held at America Makes’ headquarters in Youngstown, Ohio.

As the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, America Makes is a collaborative partner in AM and 3D printing technology research, discovery, creation, and innovation. The organization is structured as a public-private partnership with member organizations from industry, academia, government, and non-government agencies, with workforce and economic development resources. All of them join forces to accelerate AM and 3D printing and to foster the global manufacturing competitiveness of the U.S. Wohlers Associates is acknowledged for its annual report on the global AM industry and its ability to provide insights into specific topics that help companies strive. In its latest report, the consulting firm said that the production of end-use parts remains the largest application of AM in 2018. The following chart describes the distribution for the various parts produced. If these applications can save companies an undisputable amount of time and money, the big challenge of such productions is design. In other terms, designing in a way that optimizes for the AM process hence the interest of this course.

“AM is an inherently multidisciplinary technology,” said Ray Huff, associate engineer and DfAM instructor at Wohlers Associates. “Just as product development teams must rethink the way a product is designed, company management must also gain an appreciation for the new methods, software tools, and considerations that AM presents. Unlocking the vast potential of AM requires a broad understanding of both the opportunities and challenges.

Wohlers said that course presentations, discussions, and hands-on exercises cover the economics of AM, consolidating many parts into one, and topology optimization, which is letting mathematics decide where to place material to optimize the strength-to-weight ratio. The course also covers lattice/mesh structures, the important of DfAM rules and guidelines, and distortion modeling and simulation. The course includes considerations for metal, polymer, and composite materials, the creation of custom products, and reducing the need for expensive support material. Details on the course are available here.


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