PhD Intern Accelerates 3D Printing Processes


Louis Cianciullo 3D printed a rabbit as part of the project.

As print enters the third dimension, it’s possible to turn ideas into objects and the 3D printer race is heating up.

Having invented the world’s first 3D metal printer to use patented SPEE3D technology, Melbourne manufacturer, SPEE3D, saw an opportunity to improve its unique software and brought on academic expertise through an APR.Intern PhD placement.

Supported by the Innovative Manufacturing CRC (IMCRC), SPEE3D was matched with James Cook University PhD candidate, Louis Cianciullo, whose research focused on Computer Science and Mathematics. By bringing a fresh perspective to the table, Louis helped SPEE3D tackle a persistent industry challenge: how to print a wider variety of complicated 3D geometries and shapes.

Guided by his Academic Mentor, James Cook University’s Dr Mangalam Sankupellay, Louis spent his time at SPEE3D’s Darwin facility. Here, he developed an innovative new algorithm that improved the way SPEE3D’s printing software constructed toolpaths in order to print more sophisticated shapes.

“Over the five-month internship, Louis worked with our team to improve our method for deconstruction of a 3D model, allowing us to do more with our automation and reducing manual intervention. This saves our users valuable time and allows us to print a wider range of shapes. As the software has helped in-house development as well as our customers, it has been added into SPEE3D’s official software package,” said Steven Camilleri, SPEE3D Co-Founder and Louis’s industry supervisor.

The industry experience and SPEE3D’s supportive atmosphere helped Louis develop confidence in himself as a researcher.

 “I learned how to structure my research to align with a specific goal. Where academic research is more open-ended, industry research is very outcome-driven and this let me see the full range of the development process.” said Louis.

 On the project’s completion, SPEE3D offered Louis full-time employment as a Software Engineer. In his new role, Louis looks forward to developing more software that will help solve real-world manufacturing challenges.