April Lynne Cooke and Johannes Soons



Additive manufacturing refers to a class of emerging manufacturing technologies for producing highly-complex, customized components by joining materials to make objects based on 3D model data, typically built layer upon layer. Parts are fabricated directly from a 3D computer-aided design (CAD) file that is virtually sliced into many thin layers and sent to an additive manufacturing (AM) system where each layer is incrementally formed. Several AM processes and systems have been developed over the past two decades and their capabilities have grown significantly. Metal-based additive processes, such as direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), electron beam melting (EBM), and laser engineered net shaping (LENS), form parts by melting or sintering material in powder form until all layers are completed. Several barriers exist, however, that prevent metal-based AM processes from reaching their full potential. These barriers include limitations in surface quality, part accuracy, fabrication speed, and material properties. This presentation will summarize initial MEL activities and results in understanding current AM system capabilities, industry needs, and future directions; assessing the measurement and standards needs of the AM industry; defining the candidate NIST roles and priority areas; and contributing to the development of new AM standards and new methods for evaluating AM system performance.