OU Launches 'One-Of-A-Kind' Manufacturing Lab

OU has launched a one-of-a-kind manufacturing lab allowing researchers to 3D print parts and tools for the Tinker Air Force base. 

Friday, December 8th 2023, 12:25 pm

By: News 9, Addie Crawford


The University of Oklahoma has launched a one-of-a-kind manufacturing lab allowing researchers to 3D print parts and tools for the Tinker Air Force base. 

Professors lead the way throughout the four-step creation process while students learn along the way. What's inside of the lab paired with the Tinker partnership allows students real world experience. 

"It's amazing to see what comes from this," said program manager John Auld. 

The brand-new Sooner Advanced Manufacturing Lab is full of cutting-edge technology with an abundance of possibilities. 

"We can do the entire manufacturing process here in-house, and a lot of facilities can't say that," said research assistant professor Christopher Billings. 

Billings said the equipment can create virtually anything and currently helps Tinker with replacement tools or parts but has the potential to make aircraft parts. 

Auld told News 9 that Tinker's ability to make these parts in Norman, as opposed to ordering outside of the state, helps speed things up and also saves money. 

"It takes quite a long time to remanufacture and can take millions of dollars," said Auld. "We can take these printers, and in an instant, it becomes an entirely new assembly line." 

Lab staff said OU plans to bring in more manufacturing equipment as well as partnerships in the lab's long future. 

"We're going to stand out with our relationships with the Air Force along with the capability we have in this laboratory," said Billings. 

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