Where do I even begin????
First, I want to thank several people for their help over the summer. Thanks to TAD graduates from the USNA class of 2020: Ryan Dunleavy, Thor Wagonner, Dan Moriarty, and Steven Vieira for the great work they did setting up the lab. Thanks to Marc Bergeron, our AM technician, for all of his hard work getting the lab clean and ready for faculty and students. Finally, and most notably thanks to MR2(SW) Blaine Matthews from CVN74 who spent 6 months doing all kinds of great work getting us setup. I wish MR2 Matthews the best of luck as he heads out to be recruiter in the NorthWest region and we hope to see him again sometime in the future.
We made tons of changes to MakerSpaceUSNA that I will break down into some key areas:
- We added 2 completely new printing capabilities since Spring AY20 and we have 2 new capabilities due to arrive in Fall AY21.
- Thanks to strong support from NAVSEA and NSWCCD we now have a Desktop Metal Studio system! This system should be fully operational in Fall AY21 and we look forward to this great new Bound Metal Deposition capability.
- We added the ability to print with high grade plastic like ULTEM, PEEK, and PEKK using a brand new Intamsys high temperature printer. The ability to print these plastics can be a game changer for some projects.
- We have rounded out our Ultimaker line of printers with 4 Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundles which make a truly great digital factory.
- We have modernized to all Form3 printers for SLA printing. We do still have some older Form2 printers and they are very capable and can be re-purposed for specific projects if needed. We are also about to add an extremely new software feature to our Formlabs printers that will enable lots of new possibilities. We are 1 of only 3 current locations in the world scheduled to have this capability.
- We sill have the brand new Form3L and Fuse1 set to deliver in the Fall so our expansion is not yet complete.
- Perhaps our single biggest capability addition is modern and very capable portable 3D scanner. We have a brand new Creaform Go!Scan 3D scanner and full version of the newest versions of VX Elements software. We will incorporate this capability as a true reverse-engineering project this year and this capability is also a potential game changer for several projects.
- For now all users must coordinate with MakerSpace staff to use the Go!Scan 3D scanner.
IT Infrastructure Improvements
- Perhaps not as interesting to everyone as the above, we we also made dramatic changes to the IT infrastructure that supports MakerSpaceUSNA. We added 2 high performance PCs capable of handling the most demanding software applications. This PCs are state-of-the-art high speed PCs with 64 Gb RAM, i9 processors, NVME drives, and high performance GPUs. These PCs are also matched with equally high performance monitors and accessories. Any USNA user may use these PCs.
- The network backbone of MakerSpaceUSNA has been completely replaced with 10 Gbps switching, Cat8 cabling, and a dedicated high performance PC controlling all printers which should significantly improve all printer functions.
- SEADEVIL remains the center of MakerSpaceUSNA's network but has also been rebuilt for improved performance.
- As previously warned, these IT improvements require all users to recreate user accounts both at www.makerspaceusna.com and locally, however, any data saved on network drives (as was recommended) has been preserved and remains available.
- We have outfitted MakerSpaceUSNA with a wide variety of new tools for post processing or general handling of parts and projects. Many tools are readily available for students and many additional tools are reserved for MakerSpace staff.
- As we do every summer, we did a full restock of AM consumables. You can see a quick update of our consumable inventory on our consumables page.
- We added a wide assortment of new consumables including high performance filaments like NylonG and Ionic Support materials for Ultimaker printers. We have also added brand new SLA resins including BioMed resins from Formlabs.
- The bottom line is pretty simple... if they make it, we probably have it. There is a very important caveat to that though. Many of these materials are so new that we do not a tremendous amount of experience with them so we need projects and students to test many of these out.
New Training Material
- We also are still working on Navy specific that we will discuss in class and will hopefully be made available soon.
I know that Summer 2020 was difficult for everyone, but we were able to engage with the 3D printing community and made good contributions to several AM efforts including a podcast with Ultimaker,a full interactive webinar with Formlabs. , and even a submission to the National Institute of Health for a PPE improvement to fight COVID-19. If you have the time, check them out.
There are many new and very interesting 3D printing projects that will start or continue this year at USNA. If you are part of a Capstone Team using AM or are doing an independent research involving using AM, please feel free to reach out so we can assist you with your project.
On a final note, I want to think again our strong supporters including the Naval Academy Foundation and Northrop Grumman Corporation who have helped enable the advancements we have done. We also look forward to continuing to work with Ultimaker, Formlabs, MatterHackers, and others as we continue to push the boundaries on what we can do with AM at MakerSpaceUSNA!
- CAPT Brad Baker