Additive Manufacturing (AM), commonly known as 3D printing, is widely used in the commercial sector for the manufacture of consumer goods, high performance parts for custom applications, and aerospace parts. Goddard Space Flight Center has used AM only sparingly. For AM to be used effectively a new design, manufacture, and testing process is needed that will reduce scientific instrument development costs, exploit the inherent advantages of AM while accommodating the disadvantages.More »
In the standard Goddard instrument development process, to assemble two parts of the instrument, say Part A and Part B, into an Assembly AB, twelve documents are required
Parts are manufactured by initiating WOAs that reference design drawings, then all parts are inspected, cleaned, and stored prior to assembly. Each of these steps requires documentation of the procedure. These documents require preparation, signoff by the senior members of the instrument team, and configuration control.
With AM complex parts can be made, even parts too complex to be machined. Mass lightened parts that are difficult to machine can be easily printed. AM interfaces well with the 3D modeling capabilities that GSFC which GSFC has invested heavily over the last 15 years, and finally AM provides for rapid, inexpensive prototyping in plastic or metals, including aluminum.
In addition, AM allows for the possibility of Topological Optimization (TO), or computer optimized parts design, which tends to produce organic looking parts that are difficult to machine, but easily printed (Figure 3). Topological Optimization integrated with NASTRAN will allow the design of lower mass instruments.
|Organizations Performing Work||Role||Type||Location|
|Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)||Lead Organization||NASA Center||Greenbelt, MD|