BOURBONNAIS, IL (08/01/2013)(readMedia)-- Elkhart resident Brian Willoughby - while an engineering major at Olivet Nazarene University during the 2012-2013 academic year - was part of the development team for Olivet's first 3D printing research project with Nexus LCM, a company based in the state of Washington and leading developer of advanced 3D printing solutions.
Together with Dr. Kenneth Johnson, department chair; other engineering students; and faculty members, Dr. Joseph Schroeder and Professor Joseph Makarewicz, he is helping to lay the groundwork for a bright future of corporate research partnerships for the University - and for his career.
The team's assignment was to use a computer-aided design program to make a virtual prototype of a vehicle part using the technology of a 3D printer.
To produce the physical part, the design file goes from a computer to a MakerBot® 3D printer, and the printer makes the prototype, constructing it layer by layer out of plastic. This process is known as direct manufacturing.
For the project with Nexus LCM, Olivet's team worked on three applications.
First, the team created two software programs. One program makes a flat, scannable bar code to embed in a virtual object model. The other program integrates that bar code with a replacement part needed by a remote automobile.
When the part is created at a remote location, using a 3D printer, the bar code is part of the object. When the object is scanned, the bar code provides the user with information about the part and even instructions about how to install it. This process is known as additive manufacturing with embedded item intelligence.
Once this had been accomplished, Nexus LCM came back to the team with the request for a design to embed a radio frequency device (RFID) inside a part as well. The ONU team began designing and testing a solution in earnest. By of the spring 2013 semester, the team had also successfully accomplished this to the company's specifications.
Then, Nexus LCM asked the team to design a way to embed a vibration sensor, similar to an electronic game controller, inside a part to keep track of the part's movement. Once again, the team successfully designed a way to do that, leveraging the skills of several engineering students who are studying toward the concentration in electrical engineering.
All three applications will work with any part, and will provide excellent tracking and information for the end users. Nexus LCM later demonstrated these at U.S. Marine Corps exercises in Virginia and two European locations.
Matt Edwards, lead Nexus LCM engineer on the project, stated: "The ONU students did an amazing job on these challenging tasks. They produced creative solutions that would have been a high accomplishment for most graduate engineering programs."
Olivet Nazarene University is an accredited Christian, liberal arts university offering more than 100 areas of undergraduate and graduate study, including the Doctor of Education in ethical leadership. Olivet has one main campus in Bourbonnais, Ill. - just 50 miles south of Chicago; three additional sites: Rolling Meadows and Oak Brook, Ill., and Hong Kong; and more than 100 School of Graduate and Continuing Studies learning locations throughout Chicagoland and the Midwest. From Oxford to Tokyo, hundreds of Olivet students also experience the global classroom each year, whether through study abroad opportunities or worldwide mission trips.
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Olivet Nazarene University