mini 3DRV — A nationwide Roadtrip

At the Forefront of 3D Technology: Oak Ridge National Laboratory–Oak Ridge TN

At the Forefront of 3D Technology: Oak Ridge National Laboratory–Oak Ridge TN

This morning there was a pleasant surprise waiting for us at breakfast. Pastries! There was fruit pastries, chocolate pastries, and more!


Then, we drove to Oak Ridge National Laboratory  (ORNL), which is part of the U.S. Department of Energy, to see their Manufacturing Demonstration Facility.



There, a very knowledgeable Mr. Brian showed us a presentation on what they were doing in 3D Technology (a lot!) and took us on the grand tour.


Lots of 3D printers, including Stratasys Makerbots

3D plastic printing? No problem!

3D metal printing? No problem!

Cool, intricate designs? No problem!

Moveable parts? No problem! All printed in a single process – No assembly required!

We learned that Oak Ridge still uses the nuclear factories originally built for the Manhattan Project (the building of the atomic bomb) back in 1943. They also just 3D printed, with Local Motors, the first drivable car last month at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago. They developed a giant printer to print the entire chassis and body (everything that was not “mechanically involved”) in one go. It took just 44 hours and had under 50 parts!


We got to see and go inside the machine that 3D printed the car . . .


. . . along with he car prototypes, too!



It is amazing how massive the things they are able to 3D print!

The car is named the Strati, Italian for layers, similar to Stratasys. It is made out of carbon fiber ABS pellets that get melted down and built back up in the print process:


Mr. Brian is also a robotics expert and he showed us one of his projects – underwater robotic arms that were 3D printed:


What is truly amazing is that because ORNL is part of the Department of Energy, it partners with U.S. companies for free or at low cost to develop new technologies and makes them available for other companies to use.

Right before our time was up, we got to meet more of the team that 3D printed the Strati: Mr. Lonnie (Mr. Brian’s boss) and Mr. James, who works for Local Motors. They were all very nice.


A very cool visit!

After grabbing some lunch, we drove on, until we got stuck in traffic and stopped at a car wash. While we waited, the line slowly crawled forward and the truck in front of us broke down in the machine. After they towed it out, we got the RV washed, while we stayed inside.

Then, we drove until we got the RV park in Nashville, and went to bed.


Mini3drv Counters:
States Visited: (35+WA DC) CA, OR, WA, ID, CO, MT, WY, ND, SD, MN, WI, IL, IN, IA, NE, MI, OH, PA, NY, VT, NH, MA, ME, RI, CT, NJ, DE, MD, VA, WV, NC, SC, GA, FL, TN
Natl Parks Badges: (22) CA Redwood, OR Caves, WA Olympic, WY Yellowstone, ND Theodore Roosevelt, SD Mt Rushmore, SD Badlands, OH Cuyahoga, NY Niagara Falls, MA Boston Harbor Islands, MA Boston-Downtown, MA Boston-Charlestown. MA Minute Man, RI Roger Williams, NY Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace, NY  Statue of Liberty, PA Valley Forge, PA Independence, WA DC National Mall & Memorial, NC Guilford Courthouse, SC Congaree, GA Martin Luther King Jr

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