Student capstone project highlighted by industry consulting company

March 16, 2023

By Lauren Colvin

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Hannah Luben, who graduated from Penn State with a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering in 2021, had her senior capstone project featured in a story by Lab Midwest, an education consulting company. The story highlighted the use of hands-on learning at universities in bridging the engineering industry’s skills gap.   

For her capstone, Luben was paired with Xact Metal, a 3D metal printing company founded in Penn State’s Innovation Park. Luben and her team were tasked with optimizing some parameters of Xact Metal’s XM200C printer for printing in 17-4 stainless steel, with the objective of hitting the industry standard of 99.5% density. This type of steel is known for its corrosion resistance and high levels of strength and hardness that can be customized through heat treatment.  

The team created a matrix to methodically measure different combinations of laser speeds and hatch spacings — the space between two consecutive laser beam passes — to achieve the goal. Using this method, Luben and her team found a combination that achieved 99.8% density during printing.   

Luben interned for Xact Metal over the summer, using the same methodology to optimize several other metals. 

In the article, Luben described the experience as “the most valuable part of [her] schooling.”   

Luben is now pursuing a master’s in mechanical engineering at Penn State.


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