Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Advisor 1

Glen Archer

Advisor 2

Joshua Pearce

Committee Member 1

Michael Roggemann

Committee Member 2

Yu Zou


Metal 3-D printing has been relegated to high-cost proprietary high-resolution systems and low-resolution low-cost metal inert gas (MIG) systems. In order to provide a path to high-resolution, low-cost, metal 3-D printing, this manuscript proposes a new open source metal 3-D printer design based around a low-cost tungsten inert gas (TIG) welder coupled to a commercial open source self replicating rapid prototyper. Optimal printing parameters for the machine are acquired using a novel computational intelligence software. TIG has many advantages over MIG, such as having a low heat input, clean beads, and the potential for both high-resolution prints as well as insitu alloying of complex geometries. The design can be adapted to most RepRap-class systems and has a basic yet powerful free and open source software (FOSS) package for the characterization of the 3-D printer. This system can be used for fabricating custom metal scientific components and tools, near net-shape structural metal component rapid prototyping, adapting and depositing on existing metal structures, and is deployable for in-field prototyping for appropriate technology applications.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License.