Explore innovations supporting advances in manufacturing and rapid prototyping. Access the developments and solutions that have an impact on applications in 3D printing and automation.

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Writing Circuit Patterns by Use of Scanning UV Lasers

Scanning ultraviolet (UV) lasers would be used to expose ultraviolet-sensitive photoresists to form patterns of conductors for electronic circuits, according to a proposal. Heretofore, such patterns have been formed by exposing photoresists to collimated ultraviolet or visible light through...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Gap Welding Preforms

Small, temporary, disposable inserts, called "gap welding preforms," have been proposed for use in attaching electrically conductive ribbons to radio-frequency (RF) electronic circuits. As explained below, the use of gap...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Maskless Gray-Scale X-Ray Lithography

In a proposed technique of maskless gray-scale x-ray lithography, a photoresist to be patterned would be exposed to a parallel beam of hard x-rays. As explained below, the photoresist would be translated across the beam at a varying rate to effect one-dimensional spatial variations in the radiation dose...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Improvements in Rapid Prototyping

Several improvements have been proposed for the fabrication process known as "rapid prototyping." In this process, a model or prototype of a solid object is built up by controlled ejection of molten polymeric material through programmed orifices to form patterned layers. The second layer is deposited on top of...

Precise small apertures for a variety of optical applications can be formed in silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers by use of a photolithographic process developed specifically for the...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Modified Wire Tie

A common self-locking plastic wire tie has been modified (see figure) to enable the installer to snap off excess tie material after installation, without need for a cutting tool and without creating a potentially hazardous...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Heated Weights for Adhesive Bonding

Heated weights have been found to be useful in adhesive bonding of clips, doublers, and other small parts to lightweight structures and structural components (e.g., face-sheet/honeycomb-core sandwich...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Adaptable Drill Guide

The tool shown in the figure is a drill guide that can adapt to a curved or flat surface. The main function of the adaptable drill guide is to keep the axis of a drill perpendicular to the surface at the location of...

Electron-beam (e-beam) lithography has shown promise as a technique for fabricating diffractive optical elements on nonflat substrates. Such optical elements could include convex or...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Integrally Wound Skirt for Composite-Overwrapped Tank

The skirt that supports a composite-overwrapped tank would be made an integral part of the composite overwrap, according to a proposal. In current practice, the structure that supports a composite-overwrap tank usually includes a layer of rubber between the tank and its skirt. The rubber...

A crimping technique has been developed for fastening polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) tubes of 0.032-in. (0.81-mm) outside diameter and 0.0105-in. (0.267-mm) inside diameter onto...

An integrated suite of computer programs is undergoing development to address issues pertaining to the formation of burrs — undesired projections of metal that are generated on...

Two mounting schemes were devised for attaching heater wires to special-purpose glass tubing used in a capillary-heat-transfer experiment. Not only were the wires required to...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Microgravity Fiber-Pulling Apparatus

A method to process optical fiber composed of glass systems has been developed in support of the space shuttle and Space Station programs. This process, known as the Microgravity Fiber-Pulling Apparatus,...

Vacuum plasma spraying (VPS) has been demonstrated to be an effective technique for the fabrication of refractory-metal components of solar-thermal engines. Heretofore, such...

A process for the fabrication of improved high-temperature fiber-optic sensor heads has been proposed. Fiber-optic sensor heads that can withstand hot, dirty, noisy environments are...

The methods described are used with existing fiber optic technologies, and are based on several patents and on disclosures now before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The patents are No....

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Apparatus for Coating and Cold Welding in Vacuum

The figure illustrates selected aspects of a manually actuated apparatus for use in coating two small objects with suitable metals, then forcing the two objects together at the coated flat...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Magnetron Plasma Etching of SiC for Microfabrication

Magnetron plasma etching has been found to be a promising technique for micromachining of single-crystal silicon carbide to fabricate microscopic structures comprising integrated...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Controlled-Orientation Short-Fiber Composite Bodies

A technique for depositing materials into position using a positive-displacement extruder to build up a body has been developed. This technique also includes a process to prepare composite materials through a solid free-body forming process containing directionally aligned short-fiber...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Vertical Centrifugal Investment-Casting Machine

The need for improved investment castings at Marshall Space Flight Center's Rapid Prototyping Lab has led to the development of a simple machine for centrifugal investment casting of shells....

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Two-Sided Tools for Layup of Composite Sandwich Panels

A simple change in the design of tools used in manufacturing laminated-composite-material sandwich panels reduces the floor area needed to store the tools. To give meaning to a...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Fabrication of Thin-Film Type-S Thermocouples

Processes for fabricating thin-film type-S thermocouples on metal and silicon nitride substrates (see figure) have been developed. (A type-S thermocouple comprises one leg made of platinum and...

An improved process has been devised for making closed channels (e.g., coolant channels) in a heat-exchanger liner or a similar metal object. The process involves the following steps:...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Rapid Prototyping of Cast Metal/Fiber Composites

A rapid prototyping process enables the incorporation of continuous fiber reinforcement into a cast metal-matrix composite. In one older process, cast metal-matrix composites are made by introducing fibers or particles into molten or partially solidified metals, then casting the resulting...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Friction Stir Weld System for Welding and Weld Repair

A friction stir weld (FSW) system for welding and weld repair can be used on the manufacturing floor, as well as in the laboratory environment. This FSW system can be used in a wide...

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