Oak Ridge National Laboratory has helped produce the first fully functional excavator that uses parts made through additive manufacturing, or 3D printing.
The excavator, part of a working demonstration known as Project AME, was made in collaboration with ORNL partners in industry, government, and academia. The project helps showcase a range of industrial applications for 3D printing, ORNL said.
Additive manufacturing is the process used to build something one layer at a time. Rather than ink, 3D printers use polymers.
One of the most well-known examples is the Shelby Cobra car 3-D printed on a large-scale polymer printer at ORNL’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility in Hardin Valley. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden admired that vehicle—and joked about taking it for a spin—during a trip to East Tennessee in January 2015.