Additive manufacturing (AM) engineers have been incredibly creative in developing ancillary systems that modify a printed parts mechanical properties.  These systems mostly focus on the issue of anisotropic properties of additively built components.  This blog post is a good reference if you are unfamiliar with isotropic vs anisotropic properties and how they impact 3d printing.  A range of solutions exist ranging from upgrades to hobbyist printers, solutions from origin equipment manufacturers such as Essentium FlashFuse technology, to NASA redesigning a Lulzbot to be capable of printing advanced high temperature polymers.

While these ancillary technologies are great for achieving uniform part strength they pose a cyber-physical risk where subversion of these unmonitored subsystem processes could allow an attacker to sabotage part integrity and cause a component failure in operation use.  The video below (systems advantages video chapter) is a great insight into how impactful these processing parameters are towards a parts mechanical strength & chemical resistance.

The above ancillary strength control sub-system was able to achieve material gradients ranging from amorphous to crystalline within a single component due to altering the input signal to an incandescent heater mounted to the toolhead.  This heater is controlled with pulse width modulation (PWM).  In unmonitored additive manufacturing systems there is no record of this input signal and no way of comparing an “as manufactured” components digital signature against a verified test specification.  This blind spot introduces risk as a stealthy way to degrade a component’s performance.  BISON currently maintains a historian storing the “as manufactured” PWD signals controlling toolhead and build plate temperature, making our AM security solution easily expandable to monitor ancillary subsystems, ensuring there is no deviation from specification during manufacturing operations.

If you are interested in learning more about securing AM or a demonstration of the BISON capability, please contact us at