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AM PBL (Advanced Manufacturing Problem-Based Learning)


An Advanced Manufacturing Curriculum and Professional Development Project funded by the Advanced Technology Education program of the National Science Foundation

Welcome to the AM PBL Project curriculum!

  • site map of how to navigate a NEBHE PBL Challenge is available.
  • Challenge Classification Table which classifies the PBL Challenges by type of Challenge (trouble shooting versus design problems), number of solutions (single versus multiple), and level of difficulty (basic versus advanced) is available as a downloadable PDF.


  • IBM – IBM has a problem with a thin film etching process causing an area at the edge of the wafer to be under-etched. How can IBM locate and repair the problem?
  • FastCAP Systems – FastCAP’s carbon nanotubes need a uniform thin film layer for even growth, but the sputtered coating is bunching into clusters. How can they make the thin, even metal films they need?
  • Sound Manufacturing – Sound Manufacturing needs to manufacture a sheet metal panel with many connector cutouts spaced closely together. Can metal be cut and bent beyond existing metal and machine standards without increasing the failure rate?
  • CIRTEC Medical Systems – CIRTEC needs to ramp up production of power packs for an implantable medical device from 300 per year to 5000 per year. How do you go from a one-person operation to full-fledged production?
  • Hypertherm – Hypertherm is experiencing too many defects in its wave solder process. How can Hypertherm minimize the number of solder defects?
  • IPG Photonics – A customer requests a system to rapidly laser clean aluminum surfaces prior to welding in an automotive application.

Standards Alignment:

The AM PBL Challenges are aligned to National Standards.

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