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CHIPS Articles: MAKE Lab Opens Additive Manufacturing Opportunities to NSWC Carderock Employees

MAKE Lab Opens Additive Manufacturing Opportunities to NSWC Carderock Employees
By Dustin Q. Diaz, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division Public Affairs - March 15, 2016
WEST BETHESDA, Md. -- Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division's (NSWCCD) facility for additive manufacturing (AM), the Manufacturing, Knowledge and Education (MAKE) Lab, will hold its grand opening March 24.

AM, also known as 3-D printing, is an enabling technology in which 3-D printers deposit thin layers of material to create a component by following a digital blueprint.

This has many applications for Carderock Division's mission, such as quickly and affordably delivering fabricated ship models to facilitate the design and testing work Carderock's engineers have done for more than a century.

AM is an enabling technology as it allows new ideas to be rapidly realized in physical form, according to Jonathan Hopkins, a mechanical engineer and member of the AM Tiger Team. Additive manufacturing is often described as "disruptive" as it has the potential to impact Carderock Division's research and development, test and evaluation, acquisition and fleet support for naval platforms and associated logistics systems by enabling new ideas in areas including rapid prototyping and creation of new designs.

The new lab will provide training for all Carderock employees to provide its workforce with the tools necessary to additively manufacture parts using its printers. This will increase knowledge sharing, enhance collaborative work in a central space with training and open access to advanced technology, and enable innovation through workforce development, as well as facilitate greater science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) outreach efforts.

This space will help enable cross-organizational communication for Carderock's unique community of experts.

"I am looking forward to the networking potentials created by the MAKE Lab, to hear what colleagues are working on, their challenges, celebrate their successes and learn from each other," Hopkins said.

The MAKE LAB will enable innovation within the NSWCCD employee base, and allow a new means of engaging K-12 students in STEM, who will be able to rapidly and inexpensively create projects using an alternative hands-on method.

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