DOE Science Showcase - 3D Printing


The Critical Materials Institute speeds metals research with 3D printer.
Image Credit: Ames Laboratory (Ames Lab).

3D printing is an additive manufacturing process that creates 3D objects directly from a computer model, depositing material layer by layer only where required. This technique, while still evolving, is projected to profoundly impact manufacturing. 3D printing can give industry new design flexibility, reduce energy use, and shorten time from the initial design phase to market. Not only do 3-D printers make it easier to design and produce products, they are making it easier for companies to create products they couldn’t manufacture in the past. 3D printing is gaining a fresh momentum in Department of Energy (DOE) facilities where their portfolios such as materials science, neutron imaging and supercomputing are providing unique opportunities for researchers to accelerate discovery and improve our world.   Read more about 3D printing research, manufacturing techniques and capabilities in Dr. William Watson’s latest white paper In the OSTI Collections: 3D Printing and Other Additive Manufacturing Technologies.


3D Printing Research Information in DOE Databases

  • National Library of EnergyBeta:  search results from Annual Energy Outlook, DOE Technology Transfer,, DOE Office of Science,
    EIA, Open Energy Info, and other DOE offices and labs.
  • Scitech Connect:   science, technology, and engineering research information from the U.S. Department of Energy.
  •  search results from AGRICOLA, DOT, DTIC, EPA, NASA, NREL, NSF, PubMed, Toxline, and other U.S. Government databases.
  •  search results from DEFF Research Database (Denmark), DNA Database of Japan, Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB),
    Europe PubMed, German National Library of Science and Technology, International Development Research Center, INIS, J-Stage (Japan),
    NARCIS (Netherlands), Synapse and other foreign and international databases.

Related Links of Interest

Advanced Manufacturing Office, DOE EERE

Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, ORNL

Critical Materials Institute, Ames Lab

Additive Manufacturing: Pursuing the Promise, DOE EERE

Additive Manufacturing Meets the Critical Materials Shortage, DOE EERE  

Manufacturing Innovation Institutes: Putting America at the Forefront of 21st Century Manufacturing, the White House Blog

FIRST Robotics Competition, ORNL

Why 3D Printers Might Create the Next Robotic Champion, the Honorable Dot Harris, Director, Office of Economic Impact and Diversity

Critical Materials Institute speed metals research with 3D printer, Ames Lab

Ames Lab Video of the 3D printer in action, YouTube  

3D printing yields advantages for US ITER engineersORNL

3D Printing Rises to the Occasion, ORNL

“Printing” Tiny batteries, DOE Office of Science

ORNL and Local Motors sign CRADA to enable rapid design and manufacturing of vehicles through direct digital manufacturing, ORNL

Hubble Images Become Tactile 3-D Experience for the Blind, NASA 









Green light reflection from a low-oxygen environment, 3D-printer laser deposition of metal powder alloys.
Image credit:  The Critical Materials Institute, Ames Laboratory


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Last updated on Thursday 30 October 2014