The Trajectory of Metal Additive Manufacturing
John Hart

​John Hart

Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Director, Center for Additive and Digital Advanced Production Technologies
​​Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Manufacturing of metal components is essential to every major industry, and involves complex supply chains, consumes significant natural resources, and sometimes still uses ancient techniques. Conversely, additive manufacturing (AM) promises to, ultimately, digitize the formation of objects and redistribute value across the product life cycle. I will provide an overview of AM techniques for metals, and I will highlight recent work from my research group at MIT, including: discrete element simulation of powder spreading coupled with X-ray microscopy for layer quality control; a new concept for drop-on-demand metal printing; and physics-based cost and manufacturability modeling for deployment of AM at scale. These efforts emphasize expertise in materials, computation, and automation, which are collectively critical to enabling the next generation of metal AM. Yet, working with industry, we have learned that adoption of AM is held back by limited knowledge of its fundamental principles, and the challenge of building agile, innovative organizations. Motivated by this, I will share recent experiences from our AM-focused education programs.

John Hart is Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Director of the Center for Additive and Digital Advanced Production Technologies, and Director of the Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity, at MIT. John’s research group at MIT, the Mechanosynthesis Group, aims to accelerate the science and technology of production via advancements in additive manufacturing, nanostructured materials, and precision machine design. In 2017 and 2018, respectively, he received the MIT Ruth and Joel Spira Award for Distinguished Teaching in Mechanical Engineering and the MIT Keenan Award for Innovation in Undergraduate Education. John has co-authored >175 journal publications, is a co-inventor on >50 pending or issued patents, and is a co-founder of startup companies Desktop Metal and VulcanForms, and a Board Member of Carpenter Technology Corporation.