Faro 3D scanning Orion crew module.
This year’s RAPID event takes place on 17-19 May in Orlando, Florida, and organisers SME, are already working with leading 3D technologies companies to bring together a one-of-a-kind 3D printing exhibit for North America’s largest 3D manufacturing event.
This week, SME teamed up with Lockheed Martin, FARO Technologies, Inc., Direct Dimensions, Inc., Met-L-Flo, Inc., Florida Institute of Technology and Cincinnati Inc. to take the first-ever 3D scan of the Orion crew module at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The scan will be used by Cincinnati Inc. to 3D print a large-scale replica of the model in several pieces using its Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) technology, live on the RAPID show floor.
NASA’s Orion spacecraft is built to take humans farther into space than they’ve ever gone before. Orion will serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry astronauts to deep space, provide emergency abort capability, sustain and protect the crew, and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities. Orion will launch on NASA’s new heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System.
“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 that we are using 3D scanning and additive manufacturing to reproduce 3D models of the Orion—a spacecraft which may carry these technologies to other planets.”
FARO conducted a 3D laser scan of an Orion spacecraft model, while Direct Dimensions will be responsible for the file that is prepared and then 3D printed by Met-L-Flo. Met-L-Flo will print approximately 150 small-scale replicas of the Orion spacecraft to be displayed and used as giveaways at RAPID. Students from Florida Tech participated in the scan and discussed how the next generation of manufacturing professionals are being educated on advanced manufacturing technology and applications.
Alyse Cohen, Education Events & Competitions, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, added: "We have really enjoyed partnering with SME on this exciting project. Being among the first people to even see the pressure capsule and being able to host the first-ever 3D scan of the spacecraft is an important part in NASA's journey to Mars.”