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Lessons Learned in Establishing the NIST Metal Additive Manufacturing Laboratory



Shawn P. Moylan, John A. Slotwinski, April Cooke, Kevin K. Jurrens, M A. Donmez


This publication presents a summary of lessons learned by NIST staff during establishment of the NIST Metal Additive Manufacturing Laboratory and implementation of the metal additive manufacturing capability at NIST. These lessons learned resulted from the first implementation of a metal additive manufacturing system at NIST. While the NIST experiences were with a particular metal AM system, we believe that these lessons are relevant and have common aspects for implementing other types of metal additive manufacturing systems. The intention is that this summary document will help others to implement metal additive manufacturing capabilities in their facilities. The NIST implementation spanned several months before the system was brought fully online, including facility preparation, system installation, operator training, standard procedure development, and initial experimental use. NIST staff has been operating the machine for research purposes since early 2011. Parts have been built in one stainless steel and one Cobalt-Chrome alloy. These lessons learned address room requirements, safety concerns, machine operation, materials and process parameters, file preparation and support structures, design guidelines, and post-processing of resulting parts.
Technical Note (NIST TN) - 1801
Report Number


Additive Manufacturing, powder bed fusion, 3D printing


Moylan, S. , Slotwinski, J. , Cooke, A. , Jurrens, K. and Donmez, M. (2013), Lessons Learned in Establishing the NIST Metal Additive Manufacturing Laboratory, Technical Note (NIST TN), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed July 24, 2024)


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Created June 21, 2013, Updated November 10, 2018