The world of 3D printing—making solid parts from digital designs—is rapidly growing and proving invaluable in manufacturing. In many industries, however, certain parts or products must be made to exacting specifications. And 3D printing requires a costly and time-consuming separate inspection step after printing to ensure the part meets precise specifications.
Mark Cola of Sigma Labs, Inc., wanted to combine the two steps, the manufacture and inspection of parts, into one step to ensure the quality and geometry of the 3D metal printing. Sigma Labs specializes in advanced, real-time, non-destructive inspection systems for advanced manufacturing.
To help find a solution, NMSBA matched the company with Frank Reinow and Jun Zheng of New Mexico Tech. Reinow and Zheng led a team in investigating imaging techniques that use high-resolution digital cameras for precision measurements, also called optical metrology. The team identified existing
technologies that provided high-accuracy optical metrology solutions for use in 2D printing, which could then be applied to 3D metal printing.
Reinow and Zheng’s team then provided recommendations on systems that offered the dimensional accuracy needed by Sigma Labs. The company used the recommendations in its research and
development efforts to accelerate commercialization of their product.