Meet the Team with Additive Manufacturing Technology Leader Jacob Rindler

Posted: January 14, 2022
Jacob Rindler trains a group of military personnel on additive manufacturing design and testing

The Ohio State University is well-positioned to be a leader in additive manufacturing (AM). That status is primarily due to innovators like Jacob Rindler, who are shaping the national conversation on 3D printing technology. 

The next installment of our "Meet the Team" Q&A series highlights Rindler, an additive manufacturing technology leader at the Ohio State Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME). His role enables him to work directly with undergraduate students to develop their technical skills and prepare them for post-graduation opportunities. He also focuses on growing and developing the 3D printing ecosystem at CDME, working alongside industrial partners and fellow innovators in AM. 

Rindler was introduced to 3D printing in high school and later developed AM and advanced metals technologies at Northrop Grumman and Boeing Research and Technology. At Ohio State, Rindler has helped secure over $2.5 million in government and industry research funding, including U.S. Air Force-sponsored research to industrialize multi-laser powder bed fusion. ASTM International recognized Rindler with its Young Professional Distinguished Service Award in 2020. 

He earned his B.S. and M.S. in welding engineering from Ohio State and is currently pursuing his doctoral degree. 

CDME: When did you realize you wanted to become an engineer, specifically focusing on additive manufacturing?

Jacob Rindler: For me, growing up with a farming background, I was always interested in fixing and making things, and I got to do that quite a bit, so that's how I first got interested. I was fortunate that my high school had a pre-engineering curriculum called "Project Lead the Way." I was exposed to computer-aided design (CAD) early on. Actually, in 2010, I was introduced to using industrial research and development (R&D) and 3D printing to make functional prototypes for a capstone project through my high school. That's how I got my start in 3D printing, and it has been my passion ever since. 

CDME: Why did you choose Ohio State for your undergraduate and graduate studies?

Jacob Rindler: Growing up in Ohio, it was the university I had lots of family members attend, and I visited a lot. I was very comfortable at Ohio State. It also has excellent programs, and I liked all the people I met at visits or open houses. All around, Ohio State was an exciting place to be, and I also like that it's a large school with a diverse, international presence – that was another driver for me.

CDME: How did you become aware of CDME, and what made you want to work with the center?

Jacob Rindler: Actually, through LinkedIn – that's how I was introduced to CDME. I'm very active on the platform – so is my boss, Ed Herderick. I was like, 'Oh, CDME? I never heard of that before. What's that about? Oh, they want to do more in the additive manufacturing space.' I always felt Ohio State didn't do enough AM, considering we have exceptional capabilities and great people. So, it made sense for me to come and do AM at Ohio State. I was working on my master's degree and had a goal of getting my doctoral degree, so it all came together at the right time with the right opportunity. It has been a lot of fun building it out since then. 

CDME: How has your role evolved since you started working at the center?

Jacob Rindler: Recently, I was grouped into an AM technology leadership position, a new role within the center. What stays the same is working with students to grow additive manufacturing at Ohio State and develop their talents and experiences. However, I now get the opportunity to take on a little more responsibility from the standpoint of growing our activities – bringing on new team members, training them, and developing external partnerships that benefit the center. 

Jacob Rindler

CDME: Tell us about a project you've worked on at CDME that you're particularly proud of.

Jacob Rindler: The first project I worked on was with AmericaMakes and a second phase consortium with USCAR. The project was on multi-laser powder bed fusion – understanding the challenges of growing productivity in powder bed fusion with multiple lasers and what happens to the material where those lasers overlap. With that, I have been able to develop standardization for the community and share the results. It's also going into my dissertation work. Overall, it has been a great project that's been ongoing for years and is very industrially relevant.

CDME: The AM community is very engaging locally and nationally. Can you tell us more about that ecosystem and how it drives innovation?

Jacob Rindler: Many people are willing to come forward with ideas and work together because we realize there are so many challenges that need to be understood and solutions to develop. That is how we have been driving innovation – bringing people together to solve these more considerable challenges. Collaboration happens not just when companies and academia come together, but also when companies, academia, and government come together to go after these problems. Everyone is putting their weight into it and willing to work together. Also, some brilliant people and innovative thinkers are interested in solving these challenges.

CDME: How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your work, and how do you think it will affect the industry moving forward?

Jacob Rindler: Initially, the pandemic created the challenge of doing work physically in the lab; however, thankfully, we had a lot of work that needed to be done in terms of documentation, reporting, and catching up with publications. The AM group stayed productive during the initial wave. There wasn't a downtime. Then, we quickly started investigating how we could use 3D printing to innovate and solve problems related to COVID-19 and the supply chain disruptions. So, whether it was supporting work with printing nasopharyngeal swabs or exploring rapid prototyping solutions for other efforts, AM became part of the solution not only with the nation but also locally with The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

CDME: If you could look ahead 20 years into the future, what advances in additive manufacturing do you hope to see?

Jacob Rindler: I think speed, size, and qualifying the technology for any application. So, speed ties into helping make business cases and more pervasively using the technology. Size is mainly for folks in the aerospace and automotive industries, where we need bigger parts for bigger systems. And then finally, really understanding technology from its fundamentals through how you implement it for a system that can't fail – critical technology. A focus on qualifying even more advanced designs and using the power of data to do that—a lot of work using in situ monitoring and developing automated analysis techniques. 

It's an excellent opportunity to be at CDME, where we're looking at things differently and prioritizing how we can make things better for industry and the future workforce. 

Ways to Connect with Jacob:

by Cassie Crisp, CDME undergraduate marketing assistant

Category: Meet the Team