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The use of 3D printing metals has become an increasingly popular manufacturing method in the automotive and aerospace industry, causing a push for faster and cheaper processes. 3D printing has the unique ability to fabricate parts that have been topographically optimized, a method that takes given loads and uses finite element analysis to optimize material layout while maintaining strength. An original and optimized connecting rod will be printed with the selective laser melting and binder jetting processes. Another connecting rod will be machined at the Union College Machine Shop. Weights from the Union College Material Science lab will be used to apply a tensile load on parts, then stress and displacement will be measured. The strengths of different printing processes will be compared and the weight and strength of original versus optimized parts will be compared.

Optimizing a Connecting Rod through 3D Printing