Pioneering Large-Scale Additive Manufacturing: My Journey at DREAMS Lab Virginia Tech with SOLIDWORKS

Guest author and Virginia Tech Engineering Student, Kunal Jain wrote today’s blog.  I have known Kunal since age 14, when he participated in FIRST Robotics FRC 5422 Stormgears.

Now as a Virginia Tech mechanical engineering senior, Certified SOLIDWORKS Professional (CSWP), and maker, Kunal is on an amazing journey and shares with us a project from the Design, Research, and Education for Additive Manufacturing Systems (DREAMS) Lab at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA.

As a Senior Mechanical Engineering student at Virginia Tech and a member of the DREAMS
Lab, I have had the unique opportunity to delve into the world of large-scale additive
manufacturing. My journey, which began in my sophomore year, has been a blend of innovation,
learning, and creating impactful solutions.

The DREAMS Lab: A Hub of Innovation

The DREAMS (Design, Research, and Education for Additive Manufacturing Systems) Lab at
Virginia Tech is more than just a research facility; it’s a hub of innovation and interdisciplinary
collaboration. The lab’s mission is to deepen the understanding of large-scale additive
manufacturing through cutting-edge research. It’s a place where ideas meet technology, fostering
advancements in additive manufacturing technologies and their applications across various

A little about me Kunal Jain: A Passionate Engineering Student and Maker

My journey with SOLIDWORKS began in high school while participating in the First Robotics
Competition. This early exposure ignited a passion for engineering and design that has continued
to grow. I have since worked at several companies, including Desktop Metal, Dassault Systemes,
and Dynocardia, where I gained invaluable industry experience.

As a Certified SOLIDWORKS Professional (CSWP), I have honed my skills in SOLIDWORKS,
which has been instrumental in my academic and professional pursuits. My proficiency in
SOLIDWORKS has not only aided in my current large-scale additive manufacturing project at
DREAMS Lab but also in other diverse projects, showcasing the versatility and power of this

Large Additive Manufacturing: Designing the Unconventional using SOLIDWORKS

The cornerstone of my project was designing and manufacturing a coffee table. This was not just
any table, but one that exemplified the capabilities of large-scale 3D printing. The design process
was intricate and required a tool that offered precision and flexibility. SOLIDWORKS was my
go-to solution. Its intuitive interface and powerful features allowed me to bring my complex
design to life, seamlessly translating my ideas into a digital model ready for additive

Prototyping: The Sindoh dp200 3D Printer

A vital part of my research was prototyping. Thanks to Dassault Systemes, I had access to a
Sindoh dp200 3D printer. This smaller-scale printer was crucial for initial trials, allowing me to
test and refine my designs before moving to the large-scale 6-axis robot.

The 6-Axis Robot: Revolutionizing Manufacturing

The DREAMS Lab provided me with access to cutting-edge technology, notably the 6-axis ABB
Robot. This robot was central to my project, enabling me to print the coffee table at a scale not
traditionally achievable. The robot’s flexibility and precision made it possible to create complex
geometries and intricate details that are often challenging in conventional manufacturing

Overcoming Challenges

Large-scale additive manufacturing is not without its challenges. Speed and defect management
were significant hurdles. However, through optimized print paths, material and process
improvements, and strategic infill strategies, I was able to enhance the printing speed and reduce
common defects like warping and caving, which are magnified in large-scale objects.

This project at the DREAMS Lab with the help of SOLIDWORKS has not only been a
significant learning experience but also a testament to the future of manufacturing. Large-scale
additive manufacturing promises higher precision, lower costs, and increased efficiency,
revolutionizing how we think about production and design.

My aim is to inspire other students and aspiring engineers to explore the limitless possibilities
with SOLIDWORKS. Whether it’s robotics in high school, internships in leading tech
companies, or groundbreaking research in university labs, SOLIDWORKS has been a constant
companion in my journey, transforming my ideas into tangible realities.


Thank you Kunal for sharing your journey with the SOLIDWORKS community.  It has been along time since you and the Stormgears presented to Dean Kamen, your robot on the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform with SOLIDWORKS xDesign at the New Hampshire SOLIDWORKS User Group meeting.  We all look forward to continuing your story.

Design well, Marie


Marie Planchard

Marie Planchard

Senior Director, Early Engagement, 3DEXPERIENCE Works at Dassault Systemes
Marie Planchard is an education and engineering advocate. As Senior Director of Education & Early Engagement, SOLIDWORKS, she is responsible for global development of content and social outreach for the 3DEXPERIENCE Works products across all levels of learning including educational institutions, Fab Labs, and entrepreneurship.
Marie Planchard