What: Ribbon-cutting ceremony for America Makes Satellite Center at the W.M. Keck Center for 3-D Innovation

When: 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 7 (Lunch will be provided at noon to media. Please submit an RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

Where: College of Engineering foyer

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will officially mark the opening of America Makes’ first satellite center at the W.M. Keck Center for 3-D Innovation in the College of Engineering at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP).

Remarks from U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke, UTEP President Diana Natalicio, UTEP Professor Ryan Wicker, and Director of Manufacturing Technology Adele Ratcliff from the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense will take place prior to the ribbon cutting.

As the national accelerator for additive manufacturing (AM) and 3-D printing, America Makes is the nation’s leading and collaborative partner in AM and 3DP technology research, discovery, creation and innovation.

Structured as a public-private partnership with member organizations from industry, academia, government, nongovernment agencies, and workforce and economic development resources, America Makes partners are working together to innovate and accelerate AM and 3DP to increase our nation’s global manufacturing competitiveness.

America Makes, operated by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), was launched in August 2012 and is the nation’s first Institute within the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. America Makes is managed by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) through the Defense-wide Manufacturing Science and Technology Program — Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy. AFRL on behalf of OSD leads an interagency team composed of the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standard and Technology, Department of Energy, Department of Education, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Science Foundation.

With more than 50 ongoing manufacturing technology research projects, and 145 member organizations participating, America Makes is convening the best and brightest minds in the nation to address key industry research in AM and 3DP.

“This new relationship is beneficial for both America Makes and UTEP,” said Ryan Wicker, Ph.D., Keck Center director and professor of mechanical engineering at UTEP.  The purpose of the America Makes Satellite Center is to extend the reach of the existing America Makes mission and to complement and expand America Makes’ current regional, industrial, and technological footprint.  As a satellite center, UTEP will create a regional presence for America Makes’ initiatives in technology development, industry partnerships, workforce development and educational outreach.

Founded in 2001 as part of a $1 million grant by the W.M. Keck Foundation, UTEP’s Keck Center is a lab like no other. Led by Wicker, the Keck Center features a 13,000-square-foot, state-of-the art facility with more than 50 additive manufacturing machines and more than 50 involved faculty, staff, students and researchers with multiple successful national and international collaborations.

Wicker said, “UTEP brings an armada of state-of-the-art equipment, cutting edge research, education and workforce training to the partnership, and UTEP stands to benefit from the national and international spotlight on America Makes. NCDMM, the parent organization, has a broad base of defense and industrial partners that will afford UTEP dramatic new opportunities.”


original article

UTEP Merges 3-D Printing and UAVs

Handmade drones are a thing of the past. The new dream is push-button technology that will print a working unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV, right before your eyes.

But getting there has been challenging.

While it may be easy to print a UAV’s plastic or metal frame, the embedded electronics and motor that bring the vehicle to life are the hard part.

“Researchers around the world have struggled to create 3-D printed electronics in the last decade,” said Eric MacDonald, Ph.D., an electrical and computer engineer at The University of Texas at El Paso. “But we here at UTEP have made tremendous gains and have invented several advanced 3-D printing technologies enabling 3-D electronics.”

Co-director of UTEP’s world-renowned W.M. Keck Center for 3-D Innovation, MacDonald has spearheaded a number of 3-D printing projects. More recently, MacDonald and the lab have taken on UAVs with 3-D printed electronics.

The first prototype – a small, black and orange aircraft with a two-and-a-half-foot wingspan – is promising. Although it has yet to be perfected, its incorporation of multiple materials (plastics and circuitry) using an all-in-one 3-D printing process puts it ahead of the game.

“The thing that UTEP is famous for is its ability to print multifunctional, multimaterial structures,” said Thomas Hiromoto, a mechanical engineer at Lockheed Martin who has seen the UAV. “Creating the mechanics and electronics of a structure in one manual process limits the amount of labor involved and lowers the part count.”

As the project sponsor, Lockheed Martin has a vested interest in the development of 3-D printed UAVs and 3-D printing in general.

“Additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, allows flexibility and lets us react quicker to new needs,” Hiromoto explained.

For instance, if the Department of Defense needed a drone quickly, what normally would take weeks to manufacture and deliver to a remote location could be done on the spot in a matter of hours. At the same time, 3-D printing allows for faster design changes.

“Someone can quickly redesign a UAV to fit a specific mission,” said Efrain Aguilera, the undergraduate engineer who was in charge of getting the drone project on its feet. “If you need a drone that can fly long distances, you can increase the wing size, or if you need something stealthy, you can make the drone smaller.”

All these redesigns take place on a computer-aided design (CAD) system that engineers are trained to use, Aguilera explained. Once complete, the design is passed through software that slices the 3-D design into layers, making it readable to 3-D printers.

In the case of UTEP’s UAV, Aguilera designed the body of the aircraft entirely on his own.

As the plastic black frame began being printed layer by layer, Aguilera would pause the machine to embed the electronics by hand. In the future, a high-tech robotic arm will replace Aguilera. The machine will place the copper wires onto the frame and then continue incorporating the circuitry into the printed layers.

“While I may be using my hands now, eventually everything will be printed at the push of a button and come out fully functional,” said Aguilera, who earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering in May 2015.

But UTEP’s 3-D printing technology goes further than UAVs. The University holds several patents on 3-D printing processes capable of embedding electronics into a final product.

These patents alone are a starting point for the push-button, 3-D printing dream, so the technology’s applicability is endless.

In the meantime, Aguilera will continue perfecting his UAV and preparing it for flight when he returns to UTEP in the fall for graduate school.


original article

UTEP Named First Satellite Center for America Makes

America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, is proud to announce its plans to open its first America Makes Satellite Center on the campus of the institute’s platinum-level member, The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), in conjunction with UTEP’s renowned W.M. Keck Center for 3-D Innovation.

“Real-world technology transition takes place because of the activities and pursuits that collaborative and symbiotic relationships provide,” said Kevin Creehan, Ph.D., America Makes Deputy Director of Technology Transition. “With this new America Makes Satellite Center model, we are able to expand our current regional, industrial and technological footprint while further maximizing the reach and capabilities of the satellite through enhanced collaboration. We are proud to name America Makes member The University of Texas at El Paso as the site for the first America Makes Satellite Center.”

As the national accelerator for additive manufacturing (AM) and 3-D printing (3DP), America Makes is the nation’s leading and collaborative partner in AM and 3DP technology research, discovery, creation and innovation. Structured as a public-private partnership with member organizations from industry, academia, government, nongovernment agencies, and workforce and economic development resources, America Makes partners are working together to innovate and accelerate AM and 3DP to increase our nation’s global manufacturing competitiveness.

To ensure the long-term success of an expansion, America Makes decided to roll out the strategy as a pilot program, similar to the institute’s own founding as the pilot Institute for the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) infrastructure. A short list of potential members for consideration for an America Makes Satellite Center was generated and compared to America Makes’ prerequisites and operational requirements. After internal and external vetting and an on-site evaluation, UTEP with its acclaimed W.M. Keck Center for 3-D Innovation was ultimately selected as the pilot America Makes Satellite Center.

“This expansion strategy to establish our first satellite center at UTEP marks a new level of national reach for America Makes,” said Ralph Resnick, America Makes founding director and National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM) president and executive director. “It also capitalizes on the synergies between America Makes and UTEP’s Keck Center, as both of our organizations are dedicated to accelerating the adoption of additive manufacturing and 3-D printing technologies to increase our nation’s global manufacturing competitiveness.”

“This new relationship is beneficial for both America Makes and UTEP,” said Ryan Wicker, Ph.D., Keck Center director and professor of mechanical engineering at UTEP. “UTEP brings an armada of state-of-the-art equipment, cutting edge research, education and workforce training to the partnership, and UTEP stands to benefit from the national and international spotlight on America Makes. NCDMM, the parent organization, has a broad base of defense and industrial partners that will afford UTEP dramatic new opportunities.”

UTEP President Diana Natalicio enthusiastically described the new relationship as “a testament to the preeminence of research underway at UTEP. Exciting new technologies developed on this campus are attracting the attention of the nation and the world.”

Ed Morris, America Makes director and NCDMM vice president, added, “On behalf of all of us at America Makes, we are excited to make this announcement as it demonstrates the strength and the success of the collaboration model that America Makes was founded upon. We envision that the America Makes Satellite Center at UTEP’s Keck Center will be the first of many in a future, expansive network of satellite centers throughout the country. We look forward to working closely with UTEP and the Keck Center to get the America Makes Satellite Center up and running.”

With more than $80 million in annual research spending, UTEP is dedicated to becoming the first national research university serving a 21st century student demographic. The University’s outstanding record of receiving extremely competitive grant awards reflects the quality of UTEP’s faculty and their sustained commitment to excellence while also maintaining an academic environment dedicated to addressing the educational needs of students.

Founded in 2001 as part of a $1 million grant by the W.M. Keck Foundation, UTEP’s Keck Center is a lab like no other. Led by Wicker, the Keck Center features a 13,000-square-foot, state-of-the art facility with more than 50 additive manufacturing machines and more than 50 involved faculty, staff, students and researchers with multiple successful national and international collaborations. The lab showcases a unique blend of additive manufacturing equipment and facilities to perform fundamental research, allowing for trailblazing discoveries to be made in limitless arenas of science including 3-D printed electronics, airplanes and satellite components, human augmentation, biomedical implants and future energy systems.

Currently, UTEP’s Keck Center is leading an America Makes member team comprised of the University of New Mexico, Youngstown State University, the Lockheed Martin Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp., rp+m Inc., and Stratasys Inc., on a $2.2 million award grant to further 3-D printing technologies for rapid manufacturing of aerospace systems.

Original article

An overview article from an advanced manufacturing industry website describes the state of 3D printed electronics and prominently mentions UTEP and the Keck Center and the ground-breaking research.

The Keck Center research team attended the 25th Annual International Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium in Austin, TX.  UTEP students, faculty, and staff had the opportunity to present research in additive manufacturing of metals, ceramics, and polymers as well as multi-technology systems and material development.  As part of the 25th anniversary, the conference included presentations from inventors of technologies like Stereolithography, Inkjet Printing, Fused Deposition Modeling, Laser Engineered Net Shaping, and Laser Sintering.  In addition, past and future challenges in process development, computational methods, materials, and design were explored.    

More information: http://sffsymposium.engr.utexas.edu/


Editor’s note: This is the sixth story in a series highlighting a few of the interdisciplinary research projects at UTEP making an impact in the community, across the region and around the globe.

Miguel Mena has been preparing for a career in medicine since he was in high school.

From his freshman to his senior year at the Maxine L. Silva Magnet High School for Health Care Professions in the El Paso Independent School District, Mena volunteered at University Medical Center where he shadowed doctors, observed surgeries and followed hospital staff on their clinical rotations.

Now a sophomore at The University of Texas at El Paso, Mena has continued his medical training through A-PRIME TIME, a program that creates pathways for students at UTEP, The University of Texas at Brownsville and The University of Texas-Pan American to obtain their undergraduate degrees and M.D.s in six years rather than eight.

Officially known as the Accelerated Professional, Relevant, Integrated Medical Education (A-PRIME) partnership of The University of Texas System Transformation in Medical Education (TIME) initiative, the program forms a partnership between five institutions: UTEP, UT Brownsville, UT Pan American, The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

Students apply to the program during their senior year in high school. Once accepted, students study for three years at one of the three academic institutions (UTEP, UT Brownsville, or UT Pan American), then enroll in either UT Medical Branch – Galveston or UT Health Science Center – Houston for their last three years of study. After successfully completing their fourth year of the program, students will receive a bachelor’s degree from their home academic institution.

“I knew that classes were going to be difficult, but I knew going into the program that I would have to go in full throttle, making sure I do well, making sure I work hard and making sure I do my best,” Mena said.

The goal of the A-PRIME TIME partners is to develop a model of physician education that will be widely recognized for its innovative approach and educational effectiveness for preparing health care providers to serve Texas in the 21st century.

“The A-PRIME program provides undergraduate students with the opportunity to experience things that they traditionally would not have experienced until medical school or even their residency,” said Donna Ekal, Ph.D., associate provost for undergraduate studies at UTEP. “We are demonstrating that Texas and the UT System can lead the way in designing innovative educational opportunities for the 21st century student and physician.”

The first cohort of students finished their freshman year in spring 2014. Twenty students are participating in the program at UTEP.

In addition to relevant basic and clinical sciences education, A-PRIME TIME incorporates four major pillars to produce competent, caring and compassionate physicians. Among them is the Pre-Health Professions Program (PHPP).

For the first two years, students at each academic institution participate in the PHPP where they learn traditional, nontraditional and clinical subjects and how to demonstrate teamwork and professionalism.

Other components involve competency-based education, professional identity formation and nontraditional fields of study.

“There are so many premed programs out there, but this one actually applies real medical education with its classroom settings, while also putting us with doctors as well,” said Carlos Flores, who is enrolled in the A-PRIME TIME program at UT Brownsville. “We go to clinical rotations and we get more of a head start to what we actually want to be. It makes us more proactive into our vocation as future doctors.”

Flores was among the students, faculty and staff from the program’s three academic institutions and two medical schools that converged at UTEP July 14 and 15 to participate in the fourth annual A-PRIME TIME Summer Conference.

“Our annual conference brings the partnership together because we span so many miles across Texas,” said Kristin L. Gosselink, Ph.D., associate professor of biological sciences and A-PRIME TIME campus director at UTEP. “Our summer meeting brings us face-to-face to work on the program and its content, but this one was the first time we were able to engage the students and get feedback from them.”

This was the first time students attended the conference, which made it possible for the future doctors to interact with UT Medical Branch – Galveston and UT Health Science Center – Houston faculty.

Activities included tours of the Center for Simulation, the Border Biomedical Research Center and the W.M. Keck Center for 3-D Innovation and a team-building ropes course at the Student Recreation Center.

Faculty and staff participated in professional development workshops. They also had the opportunity to finalize preparations for undergraduate students to enter the program’s TIME Academy.

Next year, students will apply to the TIME Academy, where they will begin their transition to medical school.

Admission to the TIME Academy includes conditional acceptance to medical school at either UT Medical Branch – Galveston or UT Health Science Center – Houston.

“Students who meet all the requirements will get conditional acceptance to medical school when they’re juniors,” Gosselink said. “Part of that admissions process involves the medical school admissions committee, so it’s important that the med school faculty know them as well.”

UTEP will welcome 34 freshmen to A-PRIME TIME’s second cohort starting in the fall. During winter break of 2015, students from UTEP, UT Brownsville and UT Pan American will study abroad in the Dominican Republic where they will volunteer in community clinics and practice their Spanish.

For more information about A-PRIME TIME, visit aprimetime.org.

Original article by Laura L. Acosta

Ryan Wicker imagines a future where electronics, everything from cell phones to miniature research satellites, can be made by a printer.

The University of Texas at El Paso engineering professor has worked for more than decade on technology to make it possible to print electronic circuits on flat surfaces using conductive inks.

But as 3D printing has become mainstream, engineers like Wicker have been enticed by the prospect of developing new technologies capable of printing entire electronic components in three dimensions.

So far Wicker’s research has resulted in eight patents, as well as six that are pending, and he is not alone.

The number of UTEP faculty members filing invention disclosures and patents has crept up over the past few years as the university has encouraged researchers to consider patenting and commercializing their ideas.

“It was really a culture change on campus,” said Roberto Osegueda, vice president for research at UTEP.

Back in 2001, there were no patents issued at UTEP and that trend continued until 2005 when the U.S. patent office issued one patent, according to data provided by UTEP.

But there were six patents issued in 2012, and invention disclosures have also crept up as research expenditures have increased.

There were 18 invention disclosures in 2010, 20 in 2011, and 26 in 2012, according to the most recent data available.

The patents include everything from technology that prints living tissue and novel methods of purifying water to advances in treatments for colon cancer and development of vaccines.

By comparison, there were 66 invention disclosures and 10 patents issued at the University of Texas at Dallas, another emerging “tier-one” national research university, in 2012, according to data provided by UT Dallas.

UT schools in Austin and San Antonio as well as the UT System did not respond to requests for patent information by press time.

Patenting remains a small part of the research activity at UTEP and Osegueda estimates that Wicker is one of only 25 faculty members who are engaged in patenting and commercialization.

“I do believe strongly we are not creating enough tech companies in our area to support the quality of students we are graduating,” Wicker said.

He is the director of UTEP’s W.M. Keck Center for 3D Innovation, and many of UTEP’s patents are the result of the work of engineers and graduate students at the center. The work there has also resulted in a spin-off company called Printed Device Concepts.

Up in space

In November, electronics made using 3D printers at the Keck Center traveled to space inside a miniature CubeSat satellite owned by the University of New Mexico.

The do-it-yourself satellite movement has been under way for a decade or so now with the technology and cost of sending tiny satellites into space for research now orbiting within reach of graduate students.

But engineers at the center, which was founded at UTEP in 2000, hope to develop 3D-printing technology that could build simple miniaturized satellites in as little as 24 hours, the center’s manager David Espalin said.

Also called additive manufacturing, 3D printers work by layering thin sheets of melted material, often plastic, on top of each other to create an object.

Right now, 3D printers use a limited number of materials and there are significant challenges to incorporating electronics.

While incorporating conductive ink into the 3D printing process would seem straightforward, one major problem that has flummoxed engineers, Wicker said, is the ink has to be cured at a very high temperature. That makes it incompatible with most materials used by 3D printers, like plastics.

Most recently, the Keck Center was recently awarded a $2.2-million federal grant to develop new 3D printers for aerospace systems, according to Espalin.

Osegueda is reorganizing UTEP’s technology transfer office, which manages and protects the university’s intellectual property. He said the volume of work has increased and the patenting process become more sophisticated.

“The university is truly committed to putting serious technology transfer operations on the campus,” Osegueda said.

When a faculty member decides to patent an idea, their first step is to disclose the idea at UTEP’s tech transfer office. UTEP then completes market research and a patent search to make sure somebody else hasn’t already patented the invention.

Eventually lawyers file a patent application, and then there is often a back and forth between the lawyers and the U.S. Patent Office.

The entire process, Osegueda said, has taken as long as seven years from the first disclosure to a patent being issued. In the end, the patent is owned by the UT System, but the inventor receives as much as 50 percent of the royalties.

“We are always spending a lot more on this activity than we get in revenues, so it is very easy for universities to say we are not going to have technology transfer operations,” Osegueda said.

Overall, UTEP now has about 520 tenured and tenure track faculty, according to Osegueda. Of those, 300 are engaged in grant writing and, of those, about 280 have grants. Altogether, they submit about 600 grant proposals per year.

On average, each faculty member brings in $120,000 per year in external research expenditures.

So what happens to 3D parts that have been to space?

Some of them go to England. The printed electronics that UTEP engineers made for a miniature CubeSat satellite that was launched in November are now on display at the Science Museum of London. The exhibit is called “3D: Printing the Future.”

Original article by Robert Gray El Paso Inc. staff writer


A new academic journal aimed at promoting the latest findings in 3-D printing and related fields will launch in early June, and its top editors are from The University of Texas at El Paso.

Gaia Lupo, publisher and managing editor of Elsevier publications, will debut the premiere online edition ofAdditive Manufacturing during the RAPID Conference in Detroit’s Cobo Center. The conference is the industry’s largest gathering for people interested in rapid technologies, 3-D printing and 3-D scanning and the most up-to-date trends, techniques and developments in the fields.

Lupo also will introduce UTEP’s Ryan Wicker, Ph.D., as the editor-in-chief, and Eric MacDonald, Ph.D., as the deputy editor of the new journal. Wicker holds the Mr. and Mrs. McIntosh Murchison Endowed Chair in Engineering and is professor of mechanical engineering and director and founder of the W.M. Keck Center for 3-D Innovation. MacDonald is an associate professor in electrical and computer engineering and the center’s associate director.

Wicker and MacDonald, whose days already are filled with research, classes and on- and off-campus service obligations, said they looked forward to creating a quarterly online and print journal that provides colleagues with another avenue to present their research findings. The journal will cover new technologies, processes, methods, materials, systems and applications.

“By increasing participation of researchers from around the world with their myriad disciplines, a broad range of ideas will be shared to further this transformative fabrication technology,” Wicker said.

Elsevier’s Lupo said they realized the need for a top journal with a pool of experienced reviewers after conversations with editors and researchers at key institutes and conferences. She said the company decided to announce the journal at RAPID because it draws key international researchers from industry, academia and manufacturing.

Amsterdam-based Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals, empowering them to make better decisions, and deliver better care.

Lupo praised Wicker and MacDonald as excellent scientists and enthusiastic editors who are well regarded in their industry, and called the Keck Center the premier facility of its kind in the world.

“We at Elsevier are truly honored to be working with professors Wicker and MacDonald and associated with their world-class facility at UTEP,” she said.
MacDonald said Elsevier officials initially brought the idea to the UTEP duo in fall 2013. The organization wanted to create another, more timely publication that would cover the rapidly evolving advances in 3-D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, since the industry exploded in 2008. Wicker and MacDonald were on the company’s radar because of the 14-year-old W.M. Keck Center’s successes. Since 2009, UTEP is one of the top in the nation for 3-D printing and has ranked No. 1 in the U.S. and No. 3 in the world in the number of research articles appearing in additive manufacturing peer-reviewed journals.
Educators, entrepreneurs, health care providers and those interested in state-of the art research read Elsevier’s publications.
“This is the first time going through this for me,” said MacDonald, who added the first issue will be free at www.journals.elsevier.com/additive-manufacturing. He mentioned his editorial duties included selecting articles from a pile of submissions and marshalling them through their review. Some of the journal’s main pieces originated at Penn State and Carnegie Mellon universities and the University of Nottingham in England.
“I’m fascinated by the process,” he said.

The planned journal and its editorial leadership has generated positive feedback within the industry. Ralph Resnick, president and founding director of America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, said the journal shares his organization’s mission of promoting the extensive work being done in the additive manufacturing community.

America Makes recently awarded a $2.2 million grant to the W.M. Keck Center to lead a team of university and corporate collaborators to create the next generation of 3-D printers for aerospace systems.

“Having our close partners and renowned experts in the field, Drs. Wicker and MacDonald, as principal editors of this comprehensive journal addresses this mission objective,” Resnick said. “It will assure a timely and credible publication venue for critical academic additive manufacturing research results either coming out of our sponsored projects or the community at large.”

Original article by Daniel Perez from UTEP News Service

America Makes to Kick Off UTEP-Led Project to Design Next 3-D Printer

Who: America Makes representative and UTEP engineering students and researchers

What: $2.2 million project kickoff and presentation of next generation 3-D printer for aerospace systems

When/Where: 2 p.m. Wednesday, May 21 in the UTEP College of Engineering’s W.M. Keck Center for 3-D Innovation, Engineering Building, first floor

America Makes and Lockheed Martin Corp. representatives will be on campus to kick off UTEP-led research to design the next generation 3-D printer for aerospace systems.

Their presentation will include an animation of the printer and what it will be able to do.

Members of the media also will have the opportunity to view a first generation 3-D printer, which is housed in the College of Engineering. UTEP students involved with the America Makes project will be available for interviews.

In January 2014, America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute – a presidential initiative on manufacturing – awarded a team of university and corporate partners a grant to further 3-D printing technologies for rapid manufacturing of aerospace systems.

UTEP’s W.M. Keck Center for 3-D Innovation is leading the collaboration funded by a total research investment of approximately $2.2 million. Partners include the University of New Mexico, Youngstown State University, the Lockheed Martin Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp., rp+m, Inc., and Stratasys, Inc.

Researchers will focus on creating an additive manufacturing printing system, or 3-D printer, that can fabricate multi-material aerospace components with multi-functional purposes.

The machine will not only be able to print multiple materials using a series of 3-D printers, but will become a manufacturing suite all on its own – with abilities like micromachining, robotic placement of electronic components, and the ability to connect electronic components with wiring.

The team’s ultimate goal is to manufacture unmanned aerial vehicles and satellites and test them in the harsh environments of air and space.

President Barack Obama envisioned a network of institutes like America Makes in 2012 in order to revitalize manufacturing in the United States.

The Air Force Office of Scientific Research will award approximately $15.5 million in grants to 42 scientists and engineers from 32 research institutions through the Air Force's Young Investigator Research Program

The Air Force Office of Scientific Research today announced that it will award approximately $15.5 million in grants to 42 scientists and engineers from 32 research institutions who submitted winning research proposals through the Air Force's Young Investigator Research Program (YIP).

The YIP is open to scientists and engineers at research institutions across the United States who received Ph.D. or equivalent degrees in the last five years and who show exceptional ability and promise for conducting basic research.

The objective of this program is to foster creative basic research in science and engineering, enhance early career development of outstanding young investigators, and increase opportunities for the young investigators to recognize the Air Force mission and the related challenges in science and engineering.

This year AFOSR received 234 proposals in response to the AFOSR broad agency announcement solicitation in major areas of interest to the Air Force. These areas include: Dynamical Systems and Control, Quantum and Non-Equilibrium Processes, Information, Decision and Complex Networks, Complex Materials and Devices, and Energy, Power and Propulsion. AFOSR officials select proposals based on the evaluation criteria listed in the broad agency announcement. Those selected will receive the grants over a 3 year period.

The recipients and their anticipated research areas are:


  • Dr. Edward Ackad, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, Understanding Laser-Cluster Interactions in the X-ray Regime
  • Dr. Amir Ahmadi, Princeton University, Scalable Algorithms with Formal Guarantees for Lyapunov Analysis of Control Systems via Algebraic Optimization
  • Dr. William Anderson, Baylor University, Turbulent Boundary Layer Flows Over Sharp Aerodynamic Drag Transitions
  • Dr. Panagiotis Artemiadis, Arizona State University, Perception and action interfaces in the symbiosis of humans and multi-agent systems
  • Dr. Francisco Becerra Chavez, University of New Mexico, High-capacity atom-photon interfaces for quantum information
  • Dr. Kurtis Cantley, Boise State University, Spike Timing-Dependent Learning Circuits for Temporal Pattern Recognition and Classification
  • Dr. Gunnar Carlsson, University of Minnesota, Allocating Geographic Resources Optimally
  • Dr. Michele Cash, University of Colorado, Ensemble Modeling and Data Assimilation within the Enlil Solar Wind Model
  • Dr. Mark Davenport, Georgia Institute of Technology, Solving inference and inverse problems using soft data
  • Dr. Adam de la Zerda, Leland Stanford Junior University, Molecular imaging of human performance biomarkers at cellular resolution in vivo
  • Dr. Lian Duan, Missouri University of Science and Technology (formerly University of Missouri, Rolla), Numerical Simulation of Freestream Acoustic Disturbances
  • Dr. Danna Freedman, Northwestern University, Molecular models to investigate diamagnetic anisotropy: Towards the directed synthesis of rare-earth free permanent magnets
  • Dr. Mirko Gamba, University of Michigan, Particle-Free Spatially-Resolved Two-Component Velocimetry for Fluid Flows
  • Dr. Noel Giebink, Pennsylvania State University, Complex index and nonlinearity modulation in organic photonic composites
  • Dr. Alon Gorodetsky, University of California, Irvine, Protein-Based Proton-Conducting Materials
  • Dr. Melissa Green, Syracuse University, Langrangian Coherent Structures in Bluff Body Flows
  • Dr. Leanne Hirshfield, Syracuse University, Understanding the Effects of Cyber Attacks on Human Operators
  • Dr. Allon Hochbaum, University of California, Irvine, Self-Assembled Biomimetic Conductive Fibers as a Novel Functional Materials Platform
  • Dr. Jeremiah Johnson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Synthesis and Self-Assembly of Tri- and Tetra-block Bottlebrush Copolymers
  • Dr. Addis Kidane, University of South Carolina, Multi-Scale Response of Engineered and Energetic Mat during Aggressive Condition
  • Dr. Michael Kudenov, North Carolina State University, Passive Snapshot Remote Sensing of Object Velocity
  • Dr. James LeBeau, North Carolina State University, A transformational approach to quantify chemistry at the Atomic Scale
  • Dr. Kristina Lemmer, Western Michigan University, The Study of Complex Molecular Plasma
  • Dr. Zhiqiang Lin, University of Texas at Dallas, Towards Fundamental and Binary-Centric Techniques for Kernal Malware Defense
  • Dr. Christopher McGuffey, University of California, San Diego, Dynamics of High-Intensity Laser-Driven Proton Beam
  • Dr. Ningfang Mi, Northeastern University, Creating An Integrated Management Layer To Administer Heterogeneous Resources in Dynamic Workflow Clusters
  • Dr. Ethan Miller, Johns Hopkins University, Conjugate Depletion Experiment
  • Dr. Majid Minary-Jolandan, University of Texas at Dallas, Lessons from Bone to Bioinspired Tough and Self-Remodeling Aerospace Materials
  • Dr. Chetan Patil, Vanderbilt University, Development of stimulated Raman spectroscopy for ultrahigh resolution imaging of neuronal stimuli
  • Dr. David Roberson, University of Texas at El Paso, Synthesis of 3D-printable Polymer Matrix Composites
  • Dr. Michael Sangid, Purdue University, Identifying The Crack Driving Force Mechanism Through Bayesian Analysis
  • Dr. Monika Schleier-Smith, Leland Stanford Junior University, Control and visualization of collective spin states for quantum metrology
  • Dr. Toru Shiozaki, Northwestern University, Electronic Structure Theory for Photo-Induced Spin-Forbidden Dynamics
  • Dr. Aarti Singh, Carnegie Mellon University, Compressive and Adaptive Measurement Design for Inference Problems in Multi-Attribute Large-Scale Graphs
  • Dr. Volker Sorger, George Washington University, Breaking Photonic Limits: light-matter-interaction enhanced devices for atto-joule & THz Datalinks
  • Dr. Naveen Verma, Princeton University, From Sensor Data to High-value Information: ultra-low-energy platforms for deriving inferences from complex
  • Dr. Kaitlyn Voccola, Colorado State University, Mathematical and Statistical Techniques for Synthetic-Aperture Radar
  • Dr. Joshua Vura-Weis, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Tabletop Femtosecond XUV Transient Absorption Spectroscopy
  • Dr. Chao Wang, Johns Hopkins University, Tailoring Magnetic Nanomaterials for Electromagnetic Wave Absorption
  • Dr. Qiqi Wang, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Gradient based optimization and control of chaotic multidisciplinary systems via Least Squares Shadowing adjoint method
  • Dr. David Wentzlaff, Princeton University, Megacore Operating System and Chip Architecture Co-Design
  • Dr. Mona Zebarjadi, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Meta-conductors with invisible dopants

America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, has awarded a team of university and corporate partners — led by The University of Texas at El Paso — a grant to further 3-D printing technologies for rapid manufacturing of aerospace systems. The University's W.M. Keck Center for 3-D Innovation will lead the collaboration funded by a total research investment of approximately $2.2 million. Partners include the University of New Mexico, Youngstown State University, the Lockheed Martin Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp., rp+m, Inc., and Stratasys, Inc.

The W.M. Keck Center for 3-D Innovation at the University of Texas at El Paso will send this first-ever 3-D printed electronics into space. The printed electronics will travel to space inside a CubeSat, a miniature university-based satellite owned by the University of New Mexico that will be launched as part of a resupply mission for NASA—although the electronics are just along for the ride. Preparations for launch begin at 4:30 p.m. El Paso time. Mission is set for liftoff between 5:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. from NASA’s Flight Facility in Wallops, VA.

View a live stream of the launch here.

NAMII, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute in collaboration with the W. M. Keck for 3D Innovation at the University of Texas at El Paso , proudly announces they have been awarded a $5M grant for additive manufacturing research from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.  The research will focus on a three-part research plan to ensure that quality parts are produced and certified for use in products made by a variety of industries and supply chains. The emphasis of the research is to develop specific tools needed for additive manufacturing applications to progress from prototype to market ready.


LIVE Google+ Hangout: The Future of Additive Manufacturing

We want to invite you to a Google+ Hangout with some of the biggest leaders in the additive industry including the director of the Keck Center at the University of Texas at El Paso, Ryan Wicker.  This event, hosted by GE, will explore what’s next for the industry. We hope you will join us this Friday, September 27 at 10:00 a.m. EST by watching the discussion on www.ge.com/research/live and engaging with us on Twitter using #GEResearchLive.

3D Printing of Electro Mechanical Systems

Recent research has focused on the fabrication freedom of 3D printing to not only create conceptual models but final end-use products as well.  By democratizing the manufacturing process, products will inevitably be fabricated locally and with unit-level customization.  For 3D printed end-use products to be profoundly meaningful, the fabrication technologies will be required to enhance the structures with additional features such as electromechanical content.  In the last decade, several research groups have reported embedding electronic components and electrical interconnect into 3D printed structures during process interruptions.  However, to date there appears to be an absence of fabricated devices with electromechanical functionality in which moving parts with electronic control have been created within a single Additive Manufacturing (AM) build sequence.  Moreover, previously reported 3D printed electronics were limited by the use of conductive inks, which serve as electrical interconnect and are commonly known for inadequate conductivity.  This paper describes the fabrication of a high current (>1 amp) electromechanical device through a single hybrid AM build sequence using a uPrint Plus, a relatively low cost 3D.  Additionally, a novel integrated process for embedding high performance conductors directly into the thermoplastic FDM substrate is demonstrated.  By avoiding low conductivity inks, high power electromechanical applications are enabled such as 3D printed robotics, UAVs and biomedical devices.

Click here if you want to see all our videos.

Medina defends dissertation and heads to Arcam

Defending his dissertation entitled "Reducing Metal Alloy Powder Costs for use in Powder Bed Fusion Additive Manufacturing: Improving the Economics for Production" on Friday the 23rd of August, Frank Medina graduated and headed to Tennessee.  He will be joining the Swedish company Arcam – manufacturer of the Electron Beam Melting system used for 3D printing metals objects for biomedical or aerospace applications.   Frank will be in Oak Ridge, Tennessee supporting the famous research facility, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which was involved in the Manhattan project in World War 2.

National Academy of Engineering selects Wicker for committee

Ryan Wicker – Director of the Keck Center – was selected by the prestigious National Academy of Engineering to serve on the committee for Space-Based Additive Manufacturing of Space Hardware.   The committee started a year long project this week in a workshop in Washington DC to explore the possibility of fabricating space hardware in space with additive manufacturing.   A NRC report will be created as result of this work and is expected to be published in June of 2014.

Article in Scientific American mentions UTEP

An article entitled "Will 3D Printing Transform Traditional Manufacturing?" describes the capabilities of Oak Ridge National Laboratory with regards to 3D printing and mentioned UTEP's Keck Center in the May edition.   In the article, the fabrication of electronics with 3D printing is described at the end of the article as the next frontier for additive manufacturing and the University of Texas at El Paso was identified as being on the vanguard of this research.


Interview in Scientific American about 3D Printed guns

After a University of Texas at Austin law student successfully discharged a 3D printed gun earlier this year, Scientific American interviewed Ryan Wicker – Director of the Keck Center for 3D Innovation – about the implications of the event.  Although somewhat alarmed by the printed weapon, Wicker mentions that he is far more concerned about what one might fabricate in a traditional machining shop – rather than with an inexpensive desktop 3D printer.