Season 2 Episode 8 Recap: Manufacturing a Revolution: A Conversation with the ‘Godfather’ of Additive

December 21, 2023

In this episode of Velo3D’s podcast, Laser Focused podcast, host Renette Youssef sat down with Greg Morris, the CTO of Zeda, often dubbed the “Godfather of Additive Manufacturing.” Greg’s extensive 25-year journey in the 3D printing industry, which includes pivotal roles at GE Additive and contributions to gas turbine engine part production, has made him an iconic figure in the evolving world of 3D printing.

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The Birth of a Nickname

Greg humorously recounts how he earned his nickname after an interview with CNBC’s Melissa Lee at GE Aviation, following the acquisition of his company, Morris Technologies. The moniker stuck after the segment aired, capturing the essence of his role as a pioneer and spokesperson for metal laser sintering and powder bed laser technology in North America.

The Evolution of Additive Manufacturing

Greg reflects on the remarkable progress of the additive manufacturing (AM) industry since its early days in the 1990s. He witnessed the shift from fragile acrylic resins in stereolithography to more robust epoxy resins and the advent of Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology. Greg emphasizes the industry’s journey from mere prototyping to functional prototyping, low-volume production, mass customization, and now, the production of complex components in polymers, metals, and other materials.

Milestones and Applications

When discussing major milestones in metal applications, Greg highlights the aerospace sector, particularly gas turbine engine components, as a significant arena for AM. The success story of GE’s fuel nozzles for the LEAP engine in commercial aviation stands out. This achievement demonstrates how AM technologies have transitioned from test hardware to production components in high-stakes applications. Other industries, such as medical and dental, have also seen substantial growth in the use of AM for complex implant and customization projects.

Challenges and The Future of AM

Despite these successes, Greg points out that AM hasn’t fully penetrated mainstream manufacturing, largely due to cost and the expertise required in designing for different additive technologies. However, he remains optimistic about the industry’s future, citing the need for more inclusive design thinking, cost reductions, and broader applications across various sectors, from automotive to energy.

Collaboration and Diversity in AM

A significant part of the discussion also focuses on the importance of collaboration within the industry, breaking down traditional competitive barriers to foster innovation and growth. Greg envisions a more inclusive and diverse AM industry, emphasizing the need for accessibility of these technologies in educational settings to nurture creativity and interest among diverse groups.

Personal Reflections and Legacy

In a more personal reflection, Greg shares his career journey, the challenges faced, and his vision for the legacy he hopes to leave in the AM industry. He aspires to be remembered as part of a group that advanced AM technology, improving not just manufacturing processes but also the quality of life through enhanced products and solutions.

For a deeper dive into Greg Morris’s insights and experiences in the world of additive manufacturing, listeners are encouraged to download and listen to the full episode of Laser Focused. His stories and perspectives offer a unique window into the past, present, and future of 3D printing and its transformative impact across industries​.

A Look Forward to 2024

This episode marks the end of our current journey, and we’re incredibly grateful to our listeners for their enthusiasm and support. Of course, don’t forget to keep an eye out for updates on Laser Focused in the coming year!

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About the Author

Amir Iliaifar

Director of Content

Amir Iliaifar is the Director of Content at Velo3D where he oversees the production and distribution of Velo3D’s global digital content marketing initiatives. Prior to joining the company, Amir worked for a leading professional drone manufacturer, several SaaS companies, and as an automotive tech journalist. He holds a Master of Arts in Digital Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.