The Future of Manufacturing? 3D Printing

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Florida Tech students and faculty, embrace 3D printing for science, tech and applications beyond Earth.

Deep space travel, living on another planet or even making high-tech products here on Earth will likely depend on our ability to 3D print entire structures and specialized parts on demand.

To do this, students need to be exposed to the next wave of engineering, says Prof. Michael Grieves, the executive director of the university’s Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Innovative Design (CAMID).

Recently, Grieves along two Florida Tech students, Juliette Bido and Helge von Helldorff, were at Kennedy Space Center’s Visitor Complex to discus how the next generation of engineers is being educated on advanced manufacturing technology and applications.

To demonstrate the point, the university teamed up with Lockheed Martin, FARO Technologies, Inc., Direct Dimensions, Inc., Met-L-Flo, Inc., the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and Cincinnati Inc. to take the first-ever 3D scan of Orion, NASA’s pending deep-space crew vehicle.

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Scanning a model of the Orion capsule

Cincinnati Inc. will use the scan to 3D print a large-scale replica of the model in several pieces using its Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) technology at this year’s RAPID conference, the world’s largest 3D manufacturing event, May 17-19 in Orlando, Fla.,

Before attending the conference, Bido and von Helldorff will be following the fabrication process as it moves through scan to digitization to the physical print operation.

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“Additive manufacturing and 3D printing technologies are widely used to produce aerospace and other high-performance products,” Carl Dekker, president of Met-L-Flo, explained. “It is exciting to reproduce 3D models of the Orion—a spacecraft which may carry these technologies to other planets.”

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