Through a partnership with the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PHNS), University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Engineering students and faculty have a state-of-the-art 3D metal printer at their fingertips.
The College of Engineering and PHNS will jointly utilize the Markforged Metal X 3D printer, valued at roughly $250,000 and purchased by Naval Sea Systems Command, for educational and research purposes.
Once in operation, the machine will be able to service a variety of needs for both organizations. Engineering students and faculty will be able to fabricate custom small metal parts for research and components for senior design projects. PHNS personnel can manufacture replacement parts, especially those that have long lead times or are obsolete, such as metal flanges, valves, brackets and filter housings.
“This new 3D metal printer will greatly expand our current collective 3D printing capabilities and design space that will create more opportunities for the college that currently do not exist,” said Marvin Young, adjunct professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department (ME).
In 2018, the two parties entered into a three-year education partnership agreement, allowing both organizations to collaborate on projects of mutual interest. The partnership kicked off with the development of a student internship course, currently run as one section of ME 491, which allows students to build real-world engineering experience by tackling real projects alongside professionals at PHNS as mentors. During the development of the course, the idea of obtaining the printer was floated, and after continued discussion, a plan was put in place to make it a reality.
For PHNS, the collaboration will allow its personnel to develop new technologies for greater efficiency at the facility, while accessing a significant knowledge base through interaction with engineering faculty and students.
The printer will be housed at UH Mānoa in the Engineering Machine Shop and will be fully operational at the beginning of fall 2020.
—By Kimberly Perez Hults