Manufacturing Method

Should I use additive manufacturing, welding, casting, or machining for my metal part?

That depends on the complexity of your model. Additive manufacturing can be expensive and should not be used as a method if machining or casting will do the job, for example.

Here are some courses that can help you to understand machining and manufacturing methods involving metals.

Best Practices

What are some best practices in 3D model design for additive manufacturing of metal parts?

There are many things to consider when 3D printing, such as sharp corners, overhangs, bridges, and many other details of geometry.

Primarily, it is important to design the part from the bottom up, instead of the top down like traditional subtractive machining.

Feel free to contact us and we can help you on your way!


How can I be sure my model is viable for 3D printing?

One of the best methods to ensure that your print will be viable and successful is to prototype print it first using plastics, primarily ABS. Doing so will show you where your prints have internal stresses, where it will be difficult, and will aid you getting to your final part that is ready for the metal printer.

Learn about 3D polymer printers on campus, such as the Polymeric Additive Manufacturing Facility. It is operated by the Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology.

Education and Training

What can I do to learn more?

Michigan Tech offers classes in 3D printing, manufacturing, design, material characterization, and related topics.

Become Involved in Additive Manufacturing

How can I start a project or career in additive manufacturing?

Michigan Tech offers several related programs. Check Majors, Minors, and More for all undergraduate degree offerings. The Graduate School offers degree programs, certificate programs, and online programs.

  • BS, MS, PhD in Materials Science and Engineering
  • BS, MS in Mechanical Engineering
  • Online MS in Mechanical Engineering
  • MS in Engineering Mechanics
  • PhD and Online PhD in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
  • BS in Mechanical Engineering Technology
  • Graduate Certificate Manufacturing Engineering
  • Minor in Manufacturing or Manufacturing Systems
  • MS in Manufacturing Engineering (coming soon)

The Michigan Tech article “Be Brief: Metal” lists several applications of 3D printing, along with a virtual tour of the 3D Systems DMP 305.

The Van Pelt Library also provides 3D printing orientation and training for current students, faculty, and staff at Michigan Tech.