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Adam Cohen

May 23, 2008

Filed under: additive manufacturing,manufacturing — Terry Wohlers @ 09:27

Some of you may recognize his name. Cohen helped pioneer the additive fabrication (AF) industry. At 3D Systems, he was instrumental in the development of the SLA 250, once the most popular AF system in the world. Cohen subsequently co-founded Soligen, a Southern California company that used inkjet printing (3DP) technology from MIT to produce ceramic shells for metal castings. He served as vice president of R&D for years at Soligen.

Cohen is also remembered for launching the Rapid Prototyping Report newsletter, the first publication dedicated to AF technology. Cohen sold the newsletter to CAD/CAM Publishing, who published it for many years.

Cohen worked at the University of Southern California for four years where he invented and led the development of a microfabrication technology called EFAB. (EFAB originally stood for Electrochemical FABrication.) The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) supported Cohen’s work at USC. The effort led to the 1999 spinout of Microfabrica where Cohen currently serves as executive vice president of technology and chief technology officer.

EFAB produces micrometer- and millimeter-scale metal parts, subsystems, and devices with features measured in microns. It deposits two distinct metals—currently a nickel-cobalt alloy and copper—layer by layer onto ceramic wafers. The copper is used as sacrificial support material that is ultimately etched away. Microfabrica has produced fully assembled, functional mechanisms, such as devices with dozens of moving parts that are held together with tiny pin joints.

For 21 years, Cohen has been active in the AF industry and a significant contributor to its development. He and his company are expected to remain busy for some time to come. Microfabrica, Boston University, and Harvard Medical School/Children’s Hospital recently won a $5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for the development of miniaturized tools for minimally invasive heart surgery.