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Building the tools of the next manufacturing revolution

Visitors to Henry Ford’s new assembly line in Highland Park, Michigan, more than a century ago, were able to witness a manufacturing revolution as they watched workers construct automobiles from interchangeable parts.Visit John Hart’s laboratory today if you want to see what manufacturing will look like in the future.

Hart and his group are developing technologies to reimagine the way things are made, from the nanoscale to the global economy, through projects like next-generation 3-D printers, carbon nanotube fibers for electric motors and lightweight composites, and printing flexible materials for medical devices.3-D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is the computer-guided deposition of material layer by layer into precise three-dimensional shapes.

Hart is an associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT and the director of the Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity and the Center for Additive and Digital Advanced Production Technologies.Making a part in conventional manufacturing typically involves either forming the part with a mold tool or removing material through machining, for example.)