Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Additive Engineer

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Additive Engineer

Article excerpt

Additive engineering is a new and expanding field. Additive engineers design many types of products (ranging from household goods to airplane parts) that are manufactured using 3-D printers. Josh Mook is innovation leader at General Electric's new GE Additive in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Work overview.

I teach engineers inside and outside of GE to use additive technology to improve their products and make them more cost effective. To do so, I work alongside engineers to co-develop products, helping them understand additive design and manufacturing through practice and solving tough problems. It's the most effective way to learn.

To begin the problem-solving process, we typically begin sketching ideas on paper or a whiteboard. Next, we do 3-D modeling to analyze aspects such as fluid dynamics. After we're satisfied with the performance of the model, we build and test prototypes, then refine them, and work through the process again. About half of the time, I'm at the clients' sites; the other half is spent at the homebase to create prototypes and use tools that are less mobile.

My favorite part of my work is the invention phase, when I'm brainstorming with subject-matter experts to solve difficult problems. The least exciting part of my job is when things don't work, and we have to go back to the drawing board.

Career highlights.

A highlight of my career was the formation of the GE Additive business, because it was exciting to build something new from the ground up. It is also nice to go to trade shows with colleagues who have the expertise, passion, and vision needed to bring additive to the world.

Career path.

I was interested in aviation as a child and learned to fly when I was in high school. I also had a real curiosity for science and math and making new things. When it came time for college, though, I considered being an art major. The boundary between engineering and art is pretty thin. Often, the best solution to a problem is to mimic biology, using organic shapes with beautiful curves, because nature has already solved many technical problems.

During my semester as an art major at Purdue University, I found myself drawn to students working on engineering problems. I realized that I had been drawn to aviation because of the opportunity to solve physics problems, using gut instincts about what works, and that I could spend my time solving problems and making beautiful things that were also functional. …

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