MSU alumnus receives patent

MSU alumnus Jeremey Straub received a patent for his 3-D printing quality control invention this week. Straub is on the computer science faculty at North Dakota State University and holds an MBA degree from MSU. (Submitted photo)
By: 
CHARLIE BENTON
Staff Writer

A Mississippi State University MBA alumnus on faculty at North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota, has invented a new device for the 3-D printing industry.

The system, currently called an imaging-based 3-D printing quality control system, was designed by NDSU assistant professor of computer science Jeremy Straub, along with coinventors Benjamin Kading and Scott Kerlin.

The device works by taking multiple pictures of a 3-D-printed product at different stages of production and scanning for cracks or flaws to prevent parts from breaking off and posing a hazard. The device can be used to detect both accidental and deliberate flaws in 3-D printed products. The images are then compared with what is expected to identify any discrepancies.

“It’s not just researchers that are using 3-D printing anymore,” Straub said. “Now children, store clerks, senior citizens and lots of other people who aren’t printing experts are making objects. It’s critical that printers have built-in capabilities to ensure that those objects are safe and won’t break or injure people.”

A patent titled “Characterizing 3-D Printed Objects for 3-D Printing” was issued for the system Tuesday.

Straub said the idea came out of necessity, with parts often breaking off of NDSU 3-D printing projects.

“We had a number of printers, and we would try to print stuff overnight, or print stuff and leave it, and we would come back and find a mess,” Straub said. “After that happened a few times, we were like ‘OK. you know, one, we need to figure out why the printer’s doing this.’”

He said the problem turned out to be an easily correctable hardware issue, but he still thought about the problem and ways for other people to prevent it.

“We wanted to make sure before we went too far down this road, that we were able to actually detect enough types of problems to make it worth doing,” Straub said. “We found that the vast majority of printing problems, particularly if you’re using the in-process comparisons.”

Straub said as of now, a prototype system has been built, and he is in talks with a few firms about potentially licensing the technology.

He said while his time in the MSU MBA program was primarily spent taking online classes, he was glad for the opportunities the program had given him.

”I really liked the program there, because of its super-duper flexibility,” Straub said. “There were a number of really neat classes. I took a whole series of marketing classes.”

In addition to his MSU degree, Straub holds degrees from Excelsior College in Albany, New York, Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama, and the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

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