Alabama Center for Additive Manufacturing Excellence
Calhoun Community College offers the only Design Additive Manufacturing in Alabama. It was established in 2011 with 900 square feet of lab space and had been expanding to meet demand. In 2015 we met with NASA, UAH and industry partners to revamp and improve the curriculum. To meet the need for additional space, the AM and design drafting labs moved to the Advanced Technology Center with over 4000 square feet of space. Calhoun NCAME allocated space for a 3D Printers Maker room, a lab for our large Additive Manufacturing Systems, two post-processing labs equipped to serve 16 students (one lab for metal and one for polymers). A multi-purpose classroom was also added to serve as a design concepts lab, a fundamentals class, reverse engineering instruction, scanning processes, or for conferences.
Product design and manufacturing starts with CAD. We offer Additive Manufacturing training in several software programs required for student success. These include SolidWorks, Materialise Magic, Design X, MS project, Netfabb, and several AM build processors. Beginning in the fall of 2019, we added Generative Design and Fusion 360 to the AM program.
Maker Room 3D printer’s lab
We have Luzbots minis with self-leveling heads and extruders that print ABS, PLA or flexible material. Calhoun uses the low maintenances printers in the Introductory AM classes, summer camps, high school demonstrations, and job fairs. Our student Additive Manufacturing Club has full use of these 3D printers.
Additive Manufacturing Systems Lab
We are organized to instruct on designing for AM, setting up builds and systems, and the required routine maintenance for the AM systems. Currently, we have five of the seven recognized AM processes: Fortus 400MC (FDM), Objet Polyjet (material jetting), Mcor Iris (LOM), Formlabs 3(SLA), and the Concept laser MLabs Cursing R (DMLS).
The Polymer lab is equipped with hand tools, picks, and wash stations to remove support and finish polymer parts. Also, it is equipped with a small injection molder to use for secondary processes.
The metal lab is equipped with hand tools, a grinder station, and rotary tools to remove support and finish metal parts. There is also an oven for heat-treating the metal.
To teach outsourcing, we partnered with the Machine Tool Technology department to cut the parts off the DMLS build plates, resurface them, as well as making new ones from feedstock.