LOUISVILLE, Ky. – New state-of-the-art equipment at the University of Louisville will enable engineers to turn their ideas into fully functional metal prototypes.

    The new equipment expands U of L’s Rapid Prototyping Center’s capabilities; the center already was capable of producing plastic prototype parts. The equipment will be used to develop parts for customized medical uses and improved injection-molding productivity.

    The center’s 70 industrial consortium partners and other potential customers are invited to an open house Aug. 1 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory in the Vogt Building. The building, part of U of L’s Speed Scientific School, is at the corner of Eastern Parkway and South Third Street.

    The $500,000 direct metal deposition machine blends the technology of lasers, computers and metallurgy and uses a 3,000-watt carbon dioxide laser to deposit powdered materials layer by layer in a fully hardened state.

    The resulting prototypes have wide-ranging mechanical properties and are capable of functional engineering testing. The equipment also can apply metal coatings of identical materials that form a true metallurgical bond with the surface; this is superior to welding, which weakens the metal structure.

    Speed Scientific School faculty, staff and students are conducting research in new titanium alloys for biomedical uses such as implants and developing other rapid-prototyping projects in plastics and tooling.

    Louisville businessman-hotel developer Al Schneider donated the money for the university to buy the new equipment.

    For more information, call Ken Davis, (502) 852-7599, or Tim Gornet, (502) 852-0714.

    Judy Hughes
    Judy Hughes is a senior communications and marketing coordinator for UofL’s Office of Communications and Marketing and associate editor of UofL Magazine. She previously worked in news as a writer and editor for a daily newspaper and The Associated Press.