Advanced Manufacturing Lab

The Advanced Manufacturing & Design Lab

From Prototype to Proof of Concept with State-of-the-Art Technology

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Driving Innovative

Science

With State-of-The-Art

Technology

What We Do:

The Advanced Manufacturing and Design Lab (AMDL) was created as a resource for our scientists and collaborators to build and explore new technologies that enhance data collection. Our lab uses state-of-the-art equipment to create novel scientific tools, controlling the process from idea to prototype to proof of concept.

AMDL plays an integral role in helping scientists overcome the vast limitations and challenges of conducting research both in the field and laboratory setting by engineering new, innovative designs for field equipment using the suite of cutting-edge manufacturing technology we have at our disposal.

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Who We Are

| Ian Enochs, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

| Ana Palacio, Ph.D.

Assistant Scientist

| Nash Soderberg

Research Associate

| Michael Jankulak

Data Manager

| Anthony Burke

Research Associate I

| Patrick Kiel

Doctoral Candidate

| Kenzie Cooke

Undergraduate Student

| Taylor Gill

Coral Program Intern

Top News

Environmental DNA Sampling Gets an Upgrade and Transitions to New Open-Source Technology

Scientists at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML),the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS) at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, and the Northern Gulf Institute at Mississippi State University have engineered a new instrument that will provide valuable information about the biodiversity of aquatic ecosystems. A recently published paper in Hardware X describes the design and creation of a low-cost, open-source sub-surface automated environmental DNA (eDNA) sampler (SASe), for sampling eDNA in the water column. The SASe represents a milestone for AOML as one of the first pieces of technology to go through a rigorous transition process from the desks of scientists in the laboratory, through organizational approval channels, to the wider scientific community with full accessibility to the public.

Scientists at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML),the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS) at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, and the Northern Gulf Institute at Mississippi State University have engineered a new instrument that will provide valuable information about the biodiversity of aquatic ecosystems. A recently published paper in Hardware X describes the design and creation of a low-cost, open-source sub-surface automated environmental DNA (eDNA) sampler (SASe), for sampling eDNA in the water column. The SASe represents a milestone for AOML as one of the first pieces of technology to go through a rigorous transition process from the desks of scientists in the laboratory, through organizational approval channels, to the wider scientific community with full accessibility to the public.

OpenSourceDesigns

Open Source Designs

Our lab is able to design everything from field equipment that enhances our ability to collect data with greater consistency to major laboratory renovations that unlocks new capabilities for advancing our research, as seen with our Experimental Reef Lab.

Our lab is able to simplify access and the sharing of designs. These designs are created and refined digitally until a prototype is ready to be printed or built. 

Creating Innovative Designs to Renovate Our Experimental Reef Lab (ERL)

AOML’s Experimental Reef Lab (ERL) located at the University of Miami was designed and built by AOML and the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Science (CIMAS). With 16 custom-built independent aquarium systems fully engineered using our Advanced Manufacturing and Design Lab (AMDL), we can manipulate temperature, light and pH to mirror projected ocean conditions and answer some of the most pressing questions about coral reef health in response to increasing environmental stressors.

A three-dimensional animation of a series of tanks aligned in four rows, demonstrating the new design to the ERL2

As the Experimental Reef Lab undergoes major renovations, our team within the Advanced Manufacturing and Design Lab (AMDL) is using our open-source software capabilities to trouble-shoot and innovate a new, cutting-edge design for the aquarium system and its automated logging and control system that will bring in a new wave of coral research.

 Modeling of “ERL2” Renovations Using Open-Source Designs

SAS and Additional Designs 

Our lab is able to design everything from field equipment that enhances our ability to collect data with greater consistency to major laboratory renovations that unlocks new capabilities for advancing our research, as seen with our Experimental Reef Lab.

Our lab is able to simplify access and the sharing of designs. These designs are created and refined digitally until a prototype is ready to be printed or built.

SAS

For sampling water and analyzing changes in carbonate chemistry on coral reefs

A sub-surface automated dual water sampler (SAS) for sampling water and analyzing changes in carbonate chemistry on coral reefs at finer temporal and spatial scales. To learn more about this project, visit its page.

SASe

For sampling eDNA in the water column

A sub-surface automated sampler for environmental DNA (eDNA) called SASe that is used to sample eDNA in the water column. The low-cost open-source design will, similar to the SAS, help researchers sample eDNA at finer temporal and spatial scales for research and monitoring purposes.

CRANG

For rapid measurements of coral growth

The coral rapid assessment of net growth (CRANG) system is a non-lethal automated incubation and sampling system for standardizing and streamlining rapid measurements of coral growth and respiration.

Fluid Transfer Pump

For low gas exchange sample transfer and filtration of seawater

Fluid Transfer Pump: A fluid transfer pump for low gas exchange sample transfer and filtration of precise and consistent volumes of seawater from sampling containers for carbonate chemistry analysis.

Automated Feeders

For transferring food into experimental tanks

An automated feeding system consisting of a programmable user interface with the electronics in a single housing that controls up to five remote peristaltic pumps for transferring food into experimental tanks at predetermined times and volumes.

ResearchEquipmentManufactured

Research Equipment Manufactured

The Subsurface Automated Sampler

The sub-surface automated dual water sampler was designed by researchers at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory and the University of Miami to help scientists study water chemistry on shallow reef habitats. It was also created to minimize some of the financial hurdles in marine research by serving as a low-cost open-source alternative to existing water samplers. Explore the sampler’s website, use it to guide you in building and using your own water samplers, embrace the maker movement and improve on our design. If you are a teacher, there are free lesson plans to download that include labs and activities related to science, technology, and engineering. Visit the site and learn how to build yours.

Image of a fluid transfer pump for low gas exchange transfer and filtration of precise and consistent volumes of seawater samples from sampling containers for carbonate chemistry analysis. Photo Credit: AOML, NOAA.

Fluid Transfer & Filtration

For Carbonate Chemistry Analysis

The Advanced Manufacturing and Design Lab at AOML has created a fluid transfer pump for low gas exchange transfer and filtration of precise and consistent volumes of seawater samples from sampling containers for carbonate chemistry analysis.

Submursible-Incubation-Chamber. Photo Credit: NOAA.

Submersible Incubation Chamber

For Respiration & Calcification Analysis

AOML scientists used the Advanced Manufacturing Lab to create a submersible incubation chamber for analyzing coral and sponge respiration and coral calcification in the lab.

Image of an Environmental DNA sampler being tested in the lab. A closeup of the tops of the devices shows water moving through tubes as it is being test-sampled in the lab. Photo Credit, NOAA.

Environmental DNA Sampler

For DNA Sampling in the Water Column

AOML scientists also created a sub-surface automated environmental DNA (eDNA) sampler for sampling eDNA in the water column. The low-cost open-source design will, similar to the SAS, help researchers sample eDNA at finer temporal and spatial scales for research and monitoring purposes.

OurManufacturingCapabilities

Our Manufacturing Capabilities 

Our lab has embraced fused deposition modeling and stereolithography 3D printers, a 150W automated laser cutter, and an automated PCB milling machine.

These tools are available for home or commercial use, but bringing them together has given researchers at AOML the ability to quickly prototype and test new tools to assist in accomplishing our research goals by significantly reducing development lead time. The technology and tools created in the lab are used to collaborate with other institutions who are committed to engineering innovation in science and open-source technology.

The Process

From Dream to Digital
Advanced 3D Printing
Circuitry Prototyping
Refine & Retool
Intelligent Data Collection
Once a research need and potential solution are identified, the part or tool is created digitally on CAD software. Part compatibility, size, appearance, and even freedom of movement, can be tested virtually before anything is physically made.
Then a file will be created by the CAD software and sent to the 3D printers, milling machine, or our laser cutter. The part is physically cut or 3D printed in the lab to test its fit and function. If the part needs adjustment we revisit Step 1 to edit the component as needed, and then produce the new version. This quick turnaround time makes the prototyping stage incredibly fast!
A PCB milling machine is used to create custom circuit boards for sensors and remote samplers. The circuit board is designed on PCB design software and can be milled in minutes in the lab and then assembled and tested in house, speeding up the circuit board prototyping process.
Once all components are finalized and fit together, the complete tool can be tested. A pressure chamber in the lab allows us to check for leaks since most of our equipment needs to be waterproof. Rigorous testing of the tool’s function in the lab helps us cleanup the design and troubleshoot any issues with circuitry or coding, making sure the final product will do what it was intended to.
Lastly, we demonstrate proof of concept in the field by testing the device repeatedly to ensure an effective and consistent tool was made. After that it’s ready for field use and data gathering to help meet our research goals.

Scientist Nathan Formel Engineers underwater sampling device parts using CAD software in the Advanced Manufacturing Lab Photo Credit: NOAA
Step 1
3D printed hardware from the Advanced Manufacturing Lab at AOMLPhoto Credit: NOAA
Step 2
A close-up shot of a machine creating circuitry for scientific instruments in AOML's Advanced Manufacturing Lab
Step 3
Testing an underwater sampler in a high-pressure underwater tank after its assembly in AOML's Advanced Manufacturing Lab. Photo Credit: NOAA.
Step 4
Step 5

3D Printing 

An image of three three-dimensional printers on a wooden shelf

Form2 Stereolithography (SLA) 3D Printer

 

 SLA 3D printing uses a liquid resin cured by a UV laser to create watertight custom parts. This type of 3D printing is invaluable to us as marine researchers designing research tools for underwater deployment.

Form3 Low Force Stereolithography (LFS) 3D Printer: 

 

LFS 3D printing uses a liquid resin cured by a laser focused by a specialized light processing unit for finer resolution waterproof prints with higher print consistency then the Form2. This system can print internal components at high resolution with minimal errors (e.g. internal threading or microfluidics).

THe Fuse tall rectangular black printer on the right with the dust cleaning station (also metallic grey) on the left with a white background tiled floor

Fuse 1 Printer 120V

 

The Fuse 1 Printer is capable of producing durable components for research equipment from nylon. With powder recovery performed in the final phase of printing, the Fuse 1 is efficient in creating the pieces as instructed during setup.

Post Printing Process: 

 

The first step in post processing is an alcohol bath to remove excess resin. Dried parts are then put into a UV curing station to perform the final cure of all 3D printed parts after which the 3D printed parts will be stable and durable and ready for lab and field testing.

Black container with a metal cage inside depicts where pieces are placed to begin the alcohol bath
A rounded black piece of nylon is placed in a see-through container exposed to a beam of blue UV light that takes up the screen

Boss Laser LS-2436 Laser Cutter/Etcher 

The laser uses a 150W laser on a gantry system to cut and etch consistent high resolution designs from useful materials like acrylic, silicone, and rubber. The laser has been critical in cutting caps for submersible components, custom gaskets, and experimental pedestals for coral research.

The cubed laser cutter with the top open to displace the red metal laser that moves along a silver metal bar on the interior

Soldering Station 

The soldering station includes soldering, heat gun, and desoldering vacuum capabilities for constructing circuitry and electric components for our projects, as well as in-house repair of damaged electric components in other marine research equipment.

Nash in a blue hat works at the soldering station in the AMDL on a wooden counter with wires and cables and blue wired holders with metal clamps holding a red circuit board fixed as he works