Manufacturing & Prototyping

Two-Axis Gear-Drive Gimbal

AMG-GR gear-driven motorized gimbals from Aerotech (Pittsburgh, PA) provide economical, high-accuracy elevation- over-azimuth positioning. The AMG-GR standard circular cells range from 100 mm to 300 mm in diameter. Cell mounting options include a centered (balanced) cell or a front-surface reflection option where the front of the optic is located on the axes of rotation. Special configurations can accommodate non-circular optics, cameras, sensors, and round optics larger than 300 mm in diameter. The modular design permits each gimbal mirror cell to be easily modified or replaced with different shaped cells to accommodate sensors or other asymmetrically-shaped payloads.

Posted in: Products, Products, Photonics


Product of the Month: July 2015

ZF Electronics Corp., Pleasant Prairie, WI, announced CHERRY energy-harvesting products that include an energy harvesting generator, as well as a snap-action micro-switch and rocker switch. The energy-harvesting generator is able to generate its own power, store the power in a chip, and transmit a signal via RF technology without the use of wires or batteries. The generator can be housed in a standard CHERRY switch product or a custom assembly. The AFIS wireless snap switch and momentary rocker switch provide data transfer via RF technology, eliminating the need for complex wire assemblies, and enabling use in inaccessible locations. The required energy is generated by mechanical actuation of the switch, eliminating the need for batteries. Flexible pairing allows operation of several switches with one receiver and vice-versa, and the switch “Unique ID” provides clear identification while operating several switches at once. For Free Info Visit

Posted in: Products


All-Organic Electroactive Device Fabricated with Single- Wall Carbon Nanotube Film Electrode

These devices have applications as electromechanical sensors, sonar, medical and optical devices, artificial muscles, and noise control. Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia A novel, all-organic electroactive device system has been fabricated with a single-wall carbon nanotube (SWCNT) film used as an alternative electrode. This system was fabricated with LaRC-Electro Active Polymer (LaRC-EAP) active layer and the SWCNT films by pressing at 600, 3,000, and 6,000 psi (≈4.1, 20.7, and 41.4 MPa, respectively). Silicone elastomer plates (3-mm thick) were used on the press plate surfaces for better contact adhesion between the SWCNT film and the actuating layer. This polymeric electroactive device layered with the SWCNT-FE (SWCNT-Film Electrode) can serve as an actuator. The density (or modulus) of the SWCNT-FE can be controlled by adjusting the fabrication pressure. It is anticipated that less dense SWCNT-FE can provide less constrain displacement of the polymeric actuating layer by matching the modulus.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP


Purifying Hydrogen for a Life Support Process

An advanced hydrogen purification technology is proposed to purify hydrogen of acetylene, carbon monoxide, and other gases to enable utilization of the hydrogen for oxygen recovery. Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama NASA’s endeavor to further enable long-duration manned space exploration requires further closure of the oxygen loop of the life support system that is currently realized aboard the International Space Station. Currently, oxygen is recovered from crew-generated carbon dioxide via the use of a Sabatier carbon dioxide reduction system coupled with water electrolysis. Water is electrolyzed to form oxygen for crew consumption, as well as hydrogen. The hydrogen is reacted with carbon dioxide, forming water and waste methane gas. Since hydrogen is lost from the desired closed-loop system in the form of methane, there is insufficient hydrogen available to fully react all of the carbon dioxide, resulting in a net loss of oxygen from the loop. In order to further close the oxygen loop, NASA has been developing an advanced plasma pyrolysis technology that further reduces the waste methane to higher hydrocarbons in order to better utilize the hydrogen for oxygen recovery.

Posted in: Briefs


Low-Pressure Casting of Bulk Metallic Glasses for Gears and Other Applications

Applications include the automotive, aeronautics, aerospace, robotics, commercial, and military/defense industries. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California With the correct selection of composition, some bulk metallic glasses (BMGs) have been demonstrated that have excellent combinations of hardness, fracture toughness, and wear resistance so that their use in gears and gearboxes is a potentially commercially viable application. For BMGs to be used as a low-cost alternative to steel gears, rapid fabrication strategies are needed to cast the BMGs into net-shaped gears that require little or no post-casting machining prior to use. Die casting, suction casting, and other cold-mold casting techniques have been widely demonstrated for BMGs in the past, but the unique nature of gears precludes traditional techniques from being used in an optimal way.

Posted in: Briefs


3D Printing Today: How Industry is Using and Benefiting from Additive Manufacturing Technology

Are you currently using or planning to implement 3D printing? Find out how your business compares to the broader industry in this major new study, conducted with NASA Tech Briefs magazine. Among the study's conclusions:

Posted in: White Papers


Medical 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing: Going From Why to How

3D printing has been utilized in the medical industry for over 20 years. In recent years, the number of applications, utilization, and utility have increased exponentially. This increase has been driven by two key factors: (1) crossing the chasm from “how to print” to “why adopt 3D printing and additive manufacturing”, and (2) the dramatically increased selection of technologies and materials that meet the needs of medical professionals.

Posted in: Webinars, On-Demand Webinars


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