Additive for eXtreme Improvement in Optical Mounts

The Additive for eXtreme Improvement in Optical Mounts (AXIOM) Project Call seeks innovative solutions to enhance readiness of high-precision optical components used in sensors, space systems, and other applications by developing and demonstrating novel designs enabled by additive manufacturing (AM).

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, Manufacturing and Industrial Base Technology Division, is funding the AXIOM Project Call. AFRL and the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), which manages America Makes, are targeting to make available approximately $560K to fund one award with at least $280K in matching cost-share funds from the awarded project team for total funding worth $840K.

Currently, optical components require a challenging combination of weight, stiffness, coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE), thermal management, and dimensional tolerances. To meet these requirements, designs often include geometric features, manufacturing methods, and materials that can increase cost and lead time and create supply chain vulnerabilities due to the limited set of approved material sources. The project call seeks to mitigate these risks through innovative approaches, which leverage AM in conjunction with novel designs or materials to demonstrate equivalence and reliability when compared to a commercial off-the-shelf product.

All the technical requirements of the AXIOM Project Call are detailed fully in the Request for Proposal (RFP) document.

Project Call Proposal Process

Given the specific focus of the AXIOM Project Call, proposers will proceed directly to developing and submitting a full proposal. Proposal teams will have approximately four weeks to submit their full proposals to America Makes.

Proposals are due no later than 5:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, June 8, 2020. 

The AXIOM Project Call award notification will occur by Friday, June 19, 2020 with an anticipated project start date of August 2020.


Domestic and foreign members who are in good standing with America Makes are eligible to participate. Only the lead proposer must be a member of America Makes. Participants of the lead proposer’s team may be made up of America Makes members and non-members.

If the lead proposing organization is not currently an America Makes member, the organization must become one by Friday, June 5, 2020. Information on how to join America Makes is available on the membership page. (Note: The foreign membership approval process requires a minimum of three weeks to complete.)


Project Call Announcement and Posting 05/05/2020
Project Call Kick-off Webinar 05/12/2020
Questions from Proposers about Scope or Approach Due 05/20/2020
Responses to Proposers about Scope or Approach Due
(All questions and responses will be shared with all proposers on this page.)
Lead Proposer must be America Makes member 06/05/2020
Fully Executed NDA with NCDMM
(Only if proposal contains proprietary information.)
Full Project Proposal Submission Due Date 06/08/2020
Anticipated Decision and Selection of Projects 06/18/2020
Anticipated Date to have ALL Projects on Contract 08/01/2020

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)