Manufacturing & Prototyping

Improved Impact Toughness and Heat Treatment for Cast Aluminum

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center researchers have developed a new, stronger aluminum alloy, ideal for cast aluminum products that have powder or paint-baked thermal coatings. With advanced mechanical properties, the NASA-427 alloy shows greater tensile strength and increased ductility, providing substantial improvement in impact toughness. In addition, this alloy improves the thermal coating process by decreasing the time required for heat treatment. With improvements in both strength and processing time, use of the alloy provides reduced materials and production costs, lower product weight, and better product performance. The superior properties of NASA-427 can benefit many industries, including automotive, where it is particularly well suited for use in aluminum wheels.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Casting, Heat treatment, Aluminum alloys, Coatings, colorants, and finishes

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Dynamically Variable Spot Size Laser System

Applications include aerospace engine repair, medical hardware manufacturing, plastic mold and die restoration, and jewelry manufacturing and repair.NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center developed the handheld laser torch, designed for welding and brazing metals, to repair hard-to-reach Space Shuttle engine nozzles. It incorporates various manual controls and changing lenses to allow the operator to adjust the laser’s power output in real time. The controls and lenses are designed to increase precision, portability, and maneuverability as compared to existing automated lasers and traditional welding techniques such as tungsten inert gas (TIG), metal inert gas (MIG), or gas-tungsten arc welding (GTAW) systems. Proximity sensors with automated shut-off switches also ensure a high level of safety for the user.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Lasers, Human machine interface (HMI), Welding, Nozzles, Spacecraft

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Precision Coffeemaker Adapts Brews to Beans and Taste

NASA’s embedded communications technology and PID controllers play key roles in coffee brewing system.Technology often takes circuitous paths. A magnetron developed for precision bombing during World War II led to the microwave oven, and a battery-powered drill created for collecting samples of Moon rock gave birth to the Dustbuster. Likewise, one student’s NASA experience with autonomous robotic vehicles has informed the creation of one of the world’s most sophisticated coffee machines.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Communications, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Design processes, Human machine interface (HMI), Robotics

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Editor’s Choice: November 2016

A handheld laser torch for welding and brazing metals enables in-field repairs where space and time are constrained. The fiber laser torch incorporates changing lenses to allow the operator to adjust the laser’s power output in real time. Applications include engine repair, medical device manufacturing, plastic mold and die restoration, and jewelry manufacturing and repair. Find out more here.

Posted in: UpFront, Aerospace, Recycling Technologies, Manufacturing & Prototyping

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2016 Create the Future Design Contest: Machinery/Automation/Robotics Category Winner

SHAPE MEMORY ALLOY BASED SAFETY LATCH Nicholas W. Pinto, Suresh Gopalakrishnan, Chandra S. Namuduri, Nancy L. Johnson, and Mark Vann General Motors, Warren, MIGeneral Motors has invented a device that indicates when an unsafe level of energy remains in an electrical panel box after the main power has been disconnected. Possible sources of this energy may be incorrect wiring, external device add-ons, and the presence of residual charge from capacitors. The device works by engaging a safety latch mechanism built with shape memory alloy (SMA) technology along with an audio or visual alarm.

Posted in: Articles, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Implants & Prosthetics, Medical, Automation, Robotics, Alloys, Smart materials, Hardware, Restraint systems

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2016 Create the Future Design Contest: Consumer Products Category Winner

MIFOLD Jon Sumroy, Carfoldio, Ltd., Ra’anana, Israel “The award is a true accolade from design and engineering professionals. This means that, as well as solving a serious problem with a convenient, practical, and affordable solution, we have solved the problem in a well designed and engineered way. The credibility of the contest, and the respect and professionalism of the organizers and judges, will enhance our ability to market the Grab-and-Go Booster Seat worldwide. This will help us keep more children safer in more journeys, more of the time.” The mifold Grab-and-Go booster seat for children aged 4-12 is more than ten times smaller than a regular booster seat and just as safe. A regular booster seat works by lifting a child up to the position of an adult. mifold does the opposite, securing the seatbelt in the correct position on the hips and shoulder by holding the seatbelt down at three points.

Posted in: Articles, Automotive, Consumer Product Manufacturing, Imaging, Medical, Design processes, Children, Seats and seating, Child restraint systems

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Products of Tomorrow: November 2016

The technologies NASA develops don’t just blast off into space. They also improve our lives here on Earth. Life-saving search-and-rescue tools, implantable medical devices, advances in commercial aircraft safety, increased accuracy in weather forecasting, and the miniature cameras in our cellphones are just some of the examples of NASA-developed technology used in products today.

Posted in: Products, Solar Power, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Sensors, Test & Measurement

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