World’s First Operational 3D Printed Excavator

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July 17, 2017 | Originally published by Date Line: July 17 on

For the past two years a conglomerate of trade associations, industry, government and academia have been collaborating on the world’s first operational 3D printed excavator. That project made a giant leap forward with the recent printing of a prototype that leveraged large-scale additive manufacturing technologies and further explores the feasibility of printing with metal alloys. The fully operational 3D printed excavator is on display at the IFPE show in Las Vega Nevada until March 11th.

Known affectionately as Project AME (Additive Manufactured Excavator), the excavator was 3D printed using various machines at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF) to create and assemble three components: the cab, the boom, and a heat exchanger. The excavator’s boom will be fabricated using newly developed free-form additive manufacturing technique to print large-scale metal components. 3D printing an excavator for the first time has been a learning experience for both seasoned researchers and the next generation of engineers.

Additional information about ORNL support, Project AME and similar ORNL efforts can be found at,, and,