Recent Graduate Research Profile: David Marsh
David Marsh, a University of Tennessee Haslam Scholar, participated in a summer internship at Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Manufacturing Demonstration Facility through the ORNL Haslam Distinguished Scholars Internship Program.

In the seventh grade, David Marsh joined his school’s robotics club, and he quickly discovered a passion for engineering.

Encouraged by his mentors, Marsh ultimately followed that passion to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where he majored in mechanical engineering as part of the Haslam Scholars Program.

After graduating, Marsh had the opportunity to intern at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) through the ORNL Haslam Distinguished Scholars Internship Program. During his internship, Marsh was based at ORNL’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF), the nation’s only large-scale open-access facility for rapidly demonstrating early-stage research and development manufacturing technologies.

Under the guidance of Mark Noakes, Ph.D., and Andrzej Nycz, Ph.D., in ORNL’s Manufacturing Systems Research Group, Marsh investigated the use of a low-cost thermal camera to monitor 3D-printed parts on the MDF’s metal Big Area Additive Manufacturing (mBAAM) machine.

As Marsh explained, the mBAAM prints parts in mild and stainless steel using a metal inert gas welding torch. This process involves melting steel wire and depositing it, adding a large amount of heat to the system.

“The parts can become extremely hot during a print,” Marsh said. “So hot, in fact, that the parts can plastically deform or even melt back into a liquid, ruining the intended geometry of the part. One of the ways to mitigate this involves strict thermal management of layer temperatures. If the previous layer is below a certain threshold, there is greatly reduced risk of overheating during the next layer.”

Recent Graduate Research Profile: David Marsh
Marsh’s research involved tracking the temperatures on prints produced by the metal Big Area Additive Manufacturing (mBAAM) machine.

To monitor this process, Marsh connected the thermal camera to a control computer, used the LabVIEW coding software to pull images from the camera and tracked the temperatures in the images. During troublesome prints, the thermal images can be manually checked by a human operator to make sure the print does not overheat. There are plans to add an automatic signal to the robot control system, telling the robot when to start the next layer, without manual intervention by a human operator.

In addition, Marsh created a calibration code that fine-tunes the camera’s thermal settings and a snapshot comparison code that compares the output from the camera control code on two different parts of the same geometry.

“I have loved my time at Oak Ridge National Lab, and I am strongly considering it for a future career,” he said. “I can tell the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility has a special academic environment and is producing some of the best additive manufacturing research in the world.”

Through his time at ORNL, Marsh broadened his understanding of engineering research outside a collegiate setting and learned a great deal about LabVIEW coding. His favorite part of the internship was the connections he made with fellow interns, especially those in his research group.

Marsh is currently seeking a master’s degree in advanced mechanical engineering at Imperial College London. After that, he is considering either pursuing a doctoral degree in engineering or entering the workforce.

“I have loved my time at Oak Ridge National Lab, and I am strongly considering it for a future career,” he said. “I can tell the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility has a special academic environment and is producing some of the best additive manufacturing research in the world.”

The ORNL Haslam Distinguished Scholars Internship Program is administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy.