Meet the Team with Additive Research Associate Michael Lander

Posted: November 2, 2022
Headshot of Michael Lander

Our next ‘Meet the Team’ Q&A installment features Michael Lander, who joined the Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME) in July 2022 as an engineering research associate.

Michael graduated from the University of Dayton with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. After earning his degree, he started his career as a mechanical engineer in private industry. Ultimately, Michael returned to academia to pursue his passion for additive manufacturing and research.  

CDME: What will you be working on in your new role here at CDME? 

Michael Lander: I was brought in to assist with research in the additive laboratory, which includes helping with the laser powder bed fusion research. CDME is continuously getting new printers, so I am going to help run and operate those printers. Overall, I will be helping the center grow and expand their research. 

CDME: What are you hoping to achieve within your first year at the center? 

Michael Lander: For tangible achievements, I would like to get the new printers up and running, so we can start new projects. Also, I want to further learn how to run and operate all the laser powder bed fusion machines in the metals lab.  

CDME: Prior to joining CDME, you have experience in mechanical and airbus Engineering. Tell me about what that work looked like.  

Michael Lander: I received my bachelor's degree from the University of Dayton and then went to work at Collin’s Aerospace doing technical customer support engineering. Collin’s Aerospace is a manufacturer of wheels and brakes for airplanes. Over 53% of the world's wheels and brakes that are on airplanes come out of Troy, Ohio. When there was an issue with one of the wheels or brakes, I would help them work on their problems to find solutions and develop the best engineering path forward for whatever service issues arose all around the world. I would be getting calls from France, Abu Dhabi, Singapore and more.  

CDME: How do you plan to apply knowledge from previous positions to your work at CDME? 

Michael Lander: Working at a large aerospace company gives you a good view of the professional engineering world. Universities are not as connected to their industry, instead focusing more on research and education. Having experience from the professional sector, I will be able to bring skills suited to customer relations, ensuring timeliness on projects and meeting deliverables. My goal is to help CDME complete everything we say we are going to do and do it well.

CDME: What is your most memorable project, and did it make an impact? 

Michael Lander: During my time in college, I lived in India for three months and built a 3D printer that prints with mud to build affordable housing in India. The printer was built out of parts from junk and recycling yards including an old speaker funnel, a gearbox and a water bottle. With the printer, we could build houses for people out of mud. That was a lot of fun.  

CDME: How did you discover your passion for additive manufacturing?  

Michael Lander: I would say my time in India sparked my passion because that was my first exposure to additive manufacturing. My first job out of college was working in an additive manufacturing research lab where I was figuring out how to run machines and build things out of metal from powder. I got to dive into the field there and learned about my interests.  

CDME: What most excites you about the future of additive manufacturing and 3D printing? 

Michael Lander: Making things that no one has ever been able to make before. We can do complex geometries and do things that could not traditionally be made 75 years ago. Now, we can do it and it kind of looks like magic. It is unbelievable some of the stuff that comes out of there.

CDME: What made you want to join the additive manufacturing team at CDME? Walk us through the process behind your decision to join the team.  

Michael Lander: One, my love for additive manufacturing kind of brought me back into this field. Two, the team that Ed Herderick is creating here is awesome. We have a wide range of disciplines and a good team of scientists and engineers who I get to work with. The infrastructure that CDME has built, with so many kinds of 3D printers, is attractive to someone who is interested in additive manufacturing. The mix of great people, an accredited university and state-of-the-art machines create a good recipe for research. 

CDME: Outside of work, how do you spend your free time? 

Michael Lander: I like to go on walks with my wife and work on cars. I play musical instruments to try to stay creative. 

CDME: What advice can you offer to current college students interested in the engineering field? 

Michael Lander: If you have a crazy idea, just try it. Don’t let someone stop you from trying or experimenting with whatever you want to do. Do not get discouraged if it doesn't work out the first time.  


Ways to Connect with Michael


 by Ellie Masters, CDME marketing undergraduate assistant 

Categories: StaffQ&A