Dominique Mueller is a Principal Research Engineer at Autodesk with a focus on large-scale additive manufacturing applications. She is based in Germany and works hand in hand with the development team of Autodesk Netfabb to constantly improve the software.

Dominique, could you let us know about your background and what brought you to 3D printing in the first place?

I studied Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Bayreuth and already focused on additive manufacturing for industrial applications during my Master thesis and developed a fiber reinforced polymer for FFF applications, after graduation, I joined Autodesk and the team working on the 3D Printing software solution.

What was your very first experience with 3D Printing?

When I was part of a formula student team, my team used 3D Printing to design lightweight components for our race car to increase the performance.

You are a Principal Research Engineer at Autodesk. Can you let us know a bit more about the scope of your research when it comes to Additive Manufacturing?

My work is mainly focused on additive manufacturing and I am working on research projects together with partners, research institutes and universities to improve the capability of our software. At the moment I am focused on large-scale additive manufacturing application in the manufacturing and architectural area.

Have you run into any challenges from being a female researcher in 3D Printing?

It can be challenging to work in a male domain but I never ran into big issues by being a woman. On the contrary, I enjoy working in the field of 3D printing as a woman every day.

Anything exciting coming up you’d like us to know about?

There are several exciting projects coming up this year and I am happy to tell you more about it as soon as we go public.

What is the most impressive or impactful use of 3D printing you’ve seen so far?

For me, the 3D printed propeller made by the RAMLAB (Rotterdam Additive Manufacturing Lab) was an amazing project showing how additive manufacturing can be used for producing certified on demand spare parts.

What do you consider game-changing technologies in Additive Manufacturing?

Combining additive manufacturing with traditional manufacturing methods like injection molding, casting or subtractive is changing production and increases the efficiency at the same time. This technology opens new possibilities on the market and helps us reimagine designs and applications.

What makes the 3D printing industry particularly interesting for you:

  • As an engineer?

Even if additive manufacturing is around since the nineties, it is still a very unknown market. Engineers can actively improve the technology and create new solutions in many different fields like hardware and machine technologies, material applications or unique designs for additive manufacturing.

  • As a woman?

3D Printing is not really depending on the gender and creates amazing opportunities for all kind of passionate professionals. But as a woman, I am a fan of stylish and unique pieces and with 3D printing, it is easy to realize them.

What do you think of the 3D printing industry today? And how would you like to see it evolve?

3D printing today is a very powerful tool but using it in the right way is still difficult, this means if you understand the capability of the technology you can create cost-efficient solutions and reduce weight, time and material use. Furthermore, we can create green products by reducing waste, energy, and environmental impact.

But additive manufacturing can have a much bigger impact in the future. When we think about 2D printing and how easy it is to just push a button and print a document no matter what printer or computer we are using it is always the same result. This is the level we need to reach for 3D printing, no matter what machine, software or material we use the result should always be the same and we can only reach this goal by working together to standardize file formats, materials and hardware systems.

In your opinion, how could we encourage more women to become involved with 3D Printing?

Education would be a first step to let women understand the potential of 3D printing and by providing trainings and hand on sessions a lot more women would experience how much fun it is to realize your own idea and holding it as a physical object in your hands in the end (btw this also applies for men).   

Favorite 3D tool (could be a software, machine, material…you name it)? Autodesk Netfabb of course and robots

Favorite moment in your day job? Working onside with partners in a workshop or lab

What’s on your 3D Printing wishlist for the next 5 years? Integrate functionality into your printed parts on a commercial level (4D printing)

Thank you for reading and for sharing! 

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