Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Todd Letcher


Metal 3D printing has been reserved for aerospace and high-end automotive industries because of its cost. A gas metal arc welder (GMAW) on a rugged 3D printer frame could make metal additive manufacturing an option for more industries and consumers. 3D welded aluminum has not been examined in depth as an option for additive manufacturing (AM). Extensive tests are necessary to determine the correct settings to use a metal inert gas (MIG) welder for AM. Porosity within the welded material must be evaluated to better understand the additive process. The material properties of 3D welded aluminum will be tested and compared to existing additive and traditional manufacturing methods. If strong enough this could reduce the cost of aerospace expeditions making tools like CubeSats more accessible to lower budget entities. Additionally, metal additive manufacturing could become more available and cost effective to use in any industry that requires manufacturing.

Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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Available for download on Sunday, May 15, 2022