Manufacturing & Prototyping

Precision Measurement and Inspection Ensure Quality of SLS Rocket Panels

Reverse engineering and inspection software Verisurf Software Anaheim, CA 714-970-1683 www.verisurf.com In spaceflight, the first eight minutes are critical. This is when the greatest opposing forces of thrust and gravity are impacting the launch vehicle. The new NASA Space Launch System (SLS) will weigh 5.5 million pounds at liftoff, or roughly the weight of eight fully loaded 747 jets. Everything comes down to weight and the integrity of design and fabrication to insure success. Today, it costs $10,000 to send one pound of payload into orbit; since the entire launch vehicle makes the trip to low-Earth orbit, its net weight is a big consideration. The lighter the launch vehicle, the greater the payload can be.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Articles, Lasers & Laser Systems, Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM), Mathematical/Scientific Software

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Editor’s Choice

For 20 years, I’ve been interacting with engineers in all different industries as the Editorial Director of NASA Tech Briefs. I’ve talked with our readers about their work and the products they use. Many of them are CAD users, and many of them are unhappy with some aspect of their CAD software.

Posted in: UpFront, Consumer Product Manufacturing, Computer-Aided Design (CAD)

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3D Printed Jet Engine Debuts

Researchers at Monash University in Australia have produced a 3D printed jet engine. Professor Xinhua Wu, head of the Monash Centre for Additive Manufacturing (MCAM), is leading initiatives to develop 3D printing. The Centre is working to provide answers for manufacturers seeking new manufacturing processes that make components lighter and cheaper than traditional ones, but without any reduction in performance.

Posted in: UpFront, Aviation

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Product of the Month: April 2015

Onshape, Inc., Cambridge, MA, introduced Onshape, the first full-cloud 3D CAD system with built-in data collaboration and management that lets all members of a design team work together using any Web browser, phone, or tablet. Using parametric and direct modeling techniques, the CAD system and data live in the cloud and are not copied, so everyone works on the same master at all times, eliminating checkouts, file copies, and overwriting. The product also eliminates installations, license codes and servers, service packs, and add-on PDM systems. Each user works on the same version of Onshape, so teams can access the same documents simultaneously. Access is controlled by the document owner, so each user sees visual indicators when others are working within the same document. Onshape allows users to perform all CAD work — not just view and markup — from a mobile device. The mobile apps are optimized for phones and tablets, allowing flexibility to access, collaborate, and edit CAD data anytime, anywhere, on any device. Both Free and Professional plans are available, with both providing access to full functionality. For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/55588-120

Posted in: Products, Computer-Aided Design (CAD)

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Lunar Cold Trap Contamination by Landing Vehicles

Software and methods are developed to assess the magnitude and distribution of lunar surface contamination caused by the engine exhaust of a landing vehicle. John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida The emerging interest in lunar mining poses a threat of contamination to pristine craters at the lunar poles, which act as cold traps for water, and may harbor other valuable minerals. Lunar Prospector type missions will be looking for volatile (molecular) compounds that may be masked by the exhaust gases from landing vehicle engines. The possible self-contamination of the landing site could negate the scientific value of the soil samples taken in the vicinity of the landing site. Self-contamination may also lead to false-positive readings of resources available on the lunar surface. This innovation addresses the software and methods needed to assess the magnitude and distribution of lunar surface contamination caused by the engine exhaust of landing vehicles on known or planned descent trajectories.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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PLC-Based Robotic Controls Versus OEM Robotic Controls

As more manufacturing facilities and distribution centers discover the benefits of robotic material handling solutions, the decision of how best to control the robot must be made. While robot original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) offer their own tightly integrated controller, recent developments have enabled control by a Programmable Logic Controller, or PLC. For facilities where PLC-based controls are already used in other machine control applications, the benefits of using one for the robot as well may be a wiser choice than the OEM controller. Let’s review PLC-based robotic control to help you determine if it’s the best choice for your application.

Posted in: Articles, Industrial Controls & Automation, Robotics

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Magnetic Encoders

POSITAL (Hamilton, NJ) introduced new models of IXARC magnetic encoders that combine incremental and absolute rotation measurement capabilities in a single, compact package. Absolute encoders provide a control system with a report of the rotational angle and rotation count at a specific point in time; incremental encoders provide a signal pulse each time the encoder shaft rotates by a specified angle. The hybrid encoders are based on the company’s magnetic measurement technology, and offer shock, dust, and moisture resistance. The hybrid incremental and absolute rotary encoders have communications interfaces that support both measurement modes: RS-422, HTL, or TTL for incremental readings; and SSI for absolute measurements. Available multi-turn versions can count up to 64,000 revolutions, while incremental measurements have resolutions as high as 16,384 pulses per revolution. For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/55588-300

Posted in: Products, Measuring Instruments

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