A start-up specializing in larger and more complex 3-D metal printing is the newest member of the Alliance for the Development of Additive Processing Technologies, or ADAPT, a consortium operating out of Colorado School of Mines dedicated to creating next-generation data informatics and advanced characterization techniques in this rapidly growing branch of manufacturing.
“Colorado is the right place to be for this company launch, especially with the powerful technology support that comes with ADAPT expertise,” said Slade Gardner, founder of Big Metal Additive in Golden, who has worked at Lockheed Martin’s aeronautics and space systems companies. “I have been pioneering large additive manufacturing capabilities for aerospace and spacecraft applications for almost two decades and now I am excited to launch Big Metal Additive to satisfy complex designs that meet the needs of a broad range of customers.”
Big Metal Additive’s first machine is a 4-by-4-foot custom-built piece of equipment that creates large, complex structures out of aluminum using a wire-fed, arc-based method. It has a build volume of over 15 cubic feet, compared to less than a cubic foot for most metal additive manufacturing machines.
“This Colorado start-up is focused in new technologies for bigger, lightweight structures and thus brings a new length scale to our membership and research activities,” said Aaron Stebner, ADAPT technical director and Mines assistant professor of mechanical engineering. “We are excited about this great partnership that will draw on previous research efforts and offer deep learning for better machine control.”
ADAPT launched in January 2016 with founding industry members Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Faustson Tool, Lockheed Martin and Citrine Informatics and with funding from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.