Inside metal fabricating at NASA

In the latest edition of The Fabricator, Dan Davis takes us into the world of metal fabricating at NASA with Spencer Wells, whose actual title is mechanical engineering technician, in the Prototype Development Laboratory (PDL) at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

“We’re far from a production shop here,” Wells said. “We’re basically a one-stop shop for prototyping. That’s why we have so many capabilities.

“So, if you had engineers or scientists with an idea or a concept that needed to be worked through and it involved sheet metal or even composites that required fabricating, machining, or electrical work, they would have to go to the outside world and find a company to work on each of those areas. You would have to deal with multiple businesses. Instead, they come here. We work through all of those problems and get those engineers and scientists what they need.”

When the search began for a new press brake, one of Wells’ co-workers suggested an electric brake, something he had seen at a tradeshow. Wells said he didn’t have any experience with that type of press brake, but he was intrigued to learn more. When he began to see this type of equipment in action, he liked what he saw.

“We thought with this type of press brake and with new software, it was going to allow us to do first part, right part every time,” Wells said.

Capital Machine Technologies introduced Wells to the SafanDarley E-Brake, giving Wells the reassurance that he can bend the “first part… right part.”

“We all have different things that we need to do around here. I don’t necessarily have a day to set up the press brake and try to get the right bend for one or two parts,” Wells said. “I need to be confident in the software and the press brake so when I punch in the numbers, I can go over to the press brake and bend one part and have it right.”

Davis, Dan. “Inside metal fabricating at NASA”. The Fabricator, March 2021/VOL. 51 NO. 3 A fabricator’s role in getting man back to the moon. Accessed 4 March 2021.

#SafanDarley #ElectricPressBrake #MetalFabrication