Ulendo’s $1M NSF Grant Will Expand its Software to New 3D Printers

Metal AM Markets
AMR Military

Share this Article

3D printing software startup, Ulendo just scooped up $1 million dollars from the National Science Foundation (NSF) program known as America’s Seed Fund, bringing the company’s fundraising total to over $2.5 million. The latest NSF grant will help the business advance its additive manufacturing (AM) vibration compensation (VC) software, doubling the throughput of 3D printers.

Ulendo Baby Groot boasts a 63% decrease in print time versus the standard print. Image courtesy of Ulendo.

Laser-focused on speeding up 3D printers up to 100% without having to degrade part quality, Ulendo’s team has created software tools that improve the productivity and quality of manufacturing machines at a low cost. The company’s advanced software helps businesses monitor, control, and improve the performance of their manufacturing process, allowing their machines to print twice as fast by compensating for the vibration created by the printer.

A spin-off of the Mechatronics Program at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Ulendo – which means “journey” or “voyage” in the Chichewa language – wants its software to enable manufacturing machines to achieve their full potential as tools for modern manufacturing. The next step in that journey is to expand the commercial use of its patented vibration compensation software. Thanks to the new Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase II award, industrial organizations already using many 3D printers in their business can access Ulendo VC.

Previously, Ulendo VC was available only to manufacturers of 3D printers that would implement it on a specific set of printer models. Instead, the grant will cost-effectively increase the productivity and speed of more 3D printer types.

Commenting on the grant, Ulendo CEO Brenda Jones said, “With the help of NSF, we can significantly improve the existing set of algorithms to address more 3D printer types and, more importantly, retrofit a 3D printer already in operation with our software, doubling its capacity. For 3D printing service bureaus and contract additive manufacturers, this enables them to squeeze more value out of their existing investment in additive manufacturing machines.”

In fact, this project is motivated by the needs of the $11 billion additive manufacturing industry that is critical to national security, supply chain resiliency, and economic prosperity, states the company. Moreover, the software algorithms developed through the grant will benefit not only 3D printing. Still, they will also apply to a wide range of advanced manufacturing machines, like machine tools and robots, whose speed and accuracy are limited by vibration.

According to the SaaS (software as a service) startup, the adoption of 3D printing for mainstream manufacturing has been hindered by pervasive quality problems caused by the vibration of the machines when operated at high speeds. Historically, end users have printed slowly to avoid or limit the impact of vibrations, which significantly restricts outputs. This project addresses the need for accurate calibration of the changing vibration behavior of 3D printers under varying operating conditions.

Previously, in 2021, Ulendo received a $250,000 phase I research grant from the NSF to accelerate the technical development of its patented software algorithm called filtered B-splines (FBS) and reduce the time to market.

Receiving an STTR grant from the NSF is an essential milestone for startups, both as an affirmation of the science behind the technology and as a segway to boost its R&D. Each startup can receive up to $2 million to support translational research and development and businesses with phase II funding are eligible to receive up to $500,000 in additional matching funds.

Ulendo’s 3D printing software pushes performance boundaries. Image courtesy of Ulendo.

This grant award comes just weeks after Ulendo secured another $1 million in a seed funding round in March 2023. The investment was made by Automation Alley Michigan’s Industry 4.0 knowledge center through the Industry 4.0 Accelerator, the nation’s first Industry 4.0-specific accelerator, along with its partners Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University and Jackson-based Lean Rocket Lab. In addition, the funds enabled Ulendo to recruit 13-year AM industry veteran Jay Murray who has stepped up as vice president of sales.

Both the grant and recent seed funding round prove that the research in smart manufacturing and AM at the University of Michigan has been successfully translated to the industry through Ulendo. Actually, plenty of real-time comparisons and demonstrations posted by Ulendo have shown how the software helps improve printed parts.

Share this Article

Recent News

3D Printing News Briefs, November 30, 2023: Material Database, Bone Scaffolds, & More

Lunaris Mission: CRP and Orbital Space to Send 3D Printed Payloads to the Moon


3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns

You May Also Like

3D Printing Webinar and Event Roundup: November 26, 2023

Things are getting busy again in terms of 3D printing webinars and events! This week is the RSNA annual meeting, the World Manufacturing Forum, and more. HP is holding an...

World’s Largest 3D Printed Boat Unveiled by Al Seer Marine

When astonishing case studies emerge in the additive manufacturing (AM) sector, it’s become a habit of mine to approach them with caution. After all, there are so many dubious stories...


Intuitive Machines Debuts $40M Hub for Lunar Ambitions and 3D Printing Tech

Best known for its pioneering work in lunar exploration and its development of the Nova-C lunar lander, Intuitive Machines (Nasdaq: LUNR) has marked yet another significant milestone. The leading space...