Questions and Answers – ALSAM

Q1. Will the program allow electron beam melting printing technologies to participate?

A1. No, we are focused solely on lasers for this project call.

Q2. If we do not win this contract, as an America Makes member, will we have full access to project results.

A2. Yes, as a member you will get access to all of the results of the project.

Q3. Is there a requirement that the machine be located at America Makes or AFRL?

A3. Yes, it has to be placed at either America Makes or AFRL

Q4. Can we propose building two systems?  One for delivery to the AFRL and one to remain at a university for student training and academic/fundamentals research projects?

A4. The Requirement is to deliver to America Makes or AFRL, as long as that requirement and all other project requirements are met, that is okay.

Q5. Is the intent to open source the system to the broader community or will results be limited to America Makes membership?  Will this be for a limited amount of time?

A5. Results will be limited to the America Makes Membership with no time limitations. The intent is not to commercialize, but foster open research in carefully controlled experiments.

Q6. Is there any interest in creating a new project call for a large-scale electron beam system?

A6. Yes, but that is for future discussions and will not be considered for this project call.

Q7. In previous ALSAM presentations, it was suggested that the cost share requirement might be addressed at least in part through future service/maintenance agreements?

A7. Cost share can be applied to the project but must occur during the project PoP. If an organization would like to commit to maintaining and servicing after the PoP, the cost share can be applied toward membership but will not count towards the project cost share.

Q8. Will AFRL/America Makes issue a waiver of liability or would the machine builder have a continued liability associated with the machine post contract?

A8. No, America Makes will not issue a waiver of liability.

Q9. How will the review committee assess proposals that have a high proportion of background IP in the final system?

A9. The intention is not to challenge the creative space. As long as the system can mimic the minimum project requirements, be able to replicate some of the conditions AFRL has identified, meet the requirement of using the project 4039 protocol, and meet the physical processing requirements it won’t be viewed unfavorably. The disclosed background IP would be protected and not part of the consortium developed IP.

Q10. Can unit be based on a COTS unit, or is there an expectation for a bespoke solution?

A10. It is the proposer’s choice as long as there is no legal liability to using cots (modified cots). The machine still has to be controllable through the project 4039 protocol but there can be other ways or multiple approaches to control the machine.

Q11. Since there are companies that can provide open source machines, would a commercially supplied machine adapted for the specific requirement of this program be considered competitive?

A11. It would be qualified for consideration, yes.

Q12. Can one of our partners be a non-us company?

A12. Yes, however all foreign-owned companies must apply and be approved for foreign membership prior to proposal submission.

Q13. We intend to modify a lightly used commercial machine to run the America Makes Open Source Protocol (4039), then provide the machine as a deliverable. We further intend to use the value of the machine as cost share (catalog price adjusted for depreciation). Do you have any guidelines for computing the cost share?

A13. From a technical view point, the machine as cost share is desirable.

Q14. The supervisory controller in this machine will run the America Makes Open Source Protocol. However, it communicates with programmable logic controllers (PLCs) for drive machine subsystems such as machine motors and gas handlers.  Will we have to deliver the PLC source code?

A14. There is no interest in capturing the PLC code beyond the need to be able to maintain the machine.  Some discussion of maintainability of the system in this context could mitigate concerns.   The purpose of the program is not to manufacture a number of these systems, but to provide a capability to the America Makes membership, and harvest lessons learned on the challenges to implementing this technical l solution.

Q15. What are your views on cyber security? Would security features strengthen a proposal?

A15. Cybersecurity is not a prime focus of the technical deliverables and would not be seen as a factor that would strengthen a proposal unless is was essential to understanding multi laser pathing strategies and the resulting material outcomes.

Q16. Can you give us guidelines for funding a national lab as a subcontractor? In the past, we worked with Lawrence Livermore National Lab, but we were not able to fund them directly.

A16. There are specific guidelines we’ve always had to follow at America Makes to be able to award to a National Lab or FFRDC.  Prime among these is that the proposer would have to demonstrate that the capability of that lab in the context of the proposal can’t or won’t be delivered by industry.  That is an exceedingly high bar to clear on an open project call where we anticipate multiple bids and approaches.

Q17.  We have been invited to be a subcontractor to a member of America Makes.  I am aware that as a sub we are not required to be a member with the associated fee requirement (Platinum, Gold, Silver).  However, what are the requirements around cost share.  Is a 50% cost share a requirement as a sub, or does it depend on the wishes of the associated America Makes member project lead.  

A17. The Project Lead will determine the project team members breakdown to ensure the team meets the 50% cost share requirement. The total project cost share can come from 1 or all sources.  

Q18. Is the cost share a “straight dollar for services” methodology or may it also extend to an in-kind contribution of hardware, software or a combination of both systems??  Is there available documentation online to provide guidance on this particular subject?

A18. In-kind contributions are allowed provided they meet the requirements found in CFR 200.306.

Q19. I was just reviewing the latest AM calls. It seems like the cost share for these is less than for prior projects. Any visibility to why this is?

A19. Every project and project topic is assessed with our public partners for what shared risk in the form of cost share is required.



Updated: August 11, 2018