Charles C. Wade

PhD Student at the University of Colorado Boulder


I specialize in design, fabrication, and automation, focusing on digital fabrication technologies. My interest lies in creating new methods that combine automation with design to improve the construction of complex engineered objects.

I earned my B.S. in Computer Science & Engineering from the University of Toledo in 2021. After my undergraduate studies, I worked as a research scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility. There, I contributed to the development of ORNL Slicer 2, a toolpath planning software for 3D printers, focusing on integrating sensor-driven controls, process modeling, and design optimization to enhance additive manufacturing systems.

Currently, I am pursuing a PhD in Computer Science at the University of Colorado Boulder, working in the Matter Assembly Computation Laboratory led by Dr. Robert MacCurdy. My research is centered on developing automated methods for the design and optimization of additively manufactured objects. I am particularly focused on optimization-driven design, enhancing multi-material additive manufacturing, and developing novel printing systems. A significant achievement during my PhD has been the creation of OpenVCAD, an open-source toolkit for the design and fabrication of functionally graded and multi-material objects. My work spans various application areas, including lattice structures for impact mitigation, soft robotics, pre-surgical planning models, and developing new meta-materials.


Dec 5, 2023 I am excited to announce the publication of my paper titled “OpenVCAD: An Open Source Volumetric Multi-Material Geometry Compiler” in the journal Additive Manufacturing. This project is the culmination of the first major project during my PhD studies. The project is open source for researchers and hobbyists. For more information, please visit the dedicated website at
Nov 27, 2023 My paper, Determining Optimal Print Orientation Using GPU-Accelerated Convex Hull Analysis, was published at SCF ‘23: Symposium on Computational Fabrication! Check the paper out here. This work was implemented into the open-source Oak Ridge National Laboratory Slicer 2 project.
Oct 6, 2023 A recent blog post on the Oak Ridge National Laboratory website highlights the outcome of a project I was involved in at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Our team successfully 3D printed a prototype rover wheel for NASA. My role in this project focused on the development of an innovative real-time slicing workflow. This was crucial for generating the billions of G-code commands required to precisely construct the wheel.
Mar 21, 2023 I was selected for the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory Scholar Program! This fellowship program will provide me with funding and the chance to collaboration with Draper researchers for the duration on my PhD studies.
Sep 1, 2022 I recently presented at the 2022 International Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium on a novel method to reduce motion command in 3D-printing using curve fitting.

selected publications

  1. gyroid_static.png
    OpenVCAD: An open source volumetric multi-material geometry compiler
    Charles Wade, Graham Williams, Sean Connelly, Braden Kopec, and Robert MacCurdy
    Additive Manufacturing, 2024
  2. ori_table.png
    Determining Optimal Print Orientation Using GPU-Accelerated Convex Hull Analysis
    Charles Wade, Breanne Crockett, Michael Borish, and Robert Maccurdy
    In Proceedings of the 8th ACM Symposium on Computational Fabrication, 2023
  3. slicer2.png
    ORNL Slicer 2
    Alex Roschli, Michael Borish, Abigail Barnes, Charles Wade, Breanne Crockett, Liam White, and Cameron Adkins
  4. curve_fitting.jpg
    Hybrid Curve Fitting for Reducing Motion Commands in Object Construction
    Charles Wade, and Michael Borish
    In 2022 International Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium, 2022
  5. gpu_tsp.png
    A GPU-based Approach for Path Planning Optimization via Travel Length Reduction
    Michael Borish, and Charles Wade
    Procedia Manufacturing, 2021