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Session 4: Additive Manufacturing

3D Printing Led NASA Goddard to a Lighter Space Flight

Generative Design leverages developments in AI and Cloud computing to enable a paradigm shift in the design process, allowing the engineer to focus on defining the requirements and objectives of the design while AI rapidly explores the design space and generates optimized designs which comply with the input requirements. Digital Manufacturing allows these complex lightweight designs to be efficiently manufactured by directly fabricating from the resulting 3D models. Ryan McClelland, a Research Engineer at NASA, discusses the NASA Goddard’s Evolved Structures process, where applying these technologies to spaceflight structures resulted in 2x-4x improvements in stiffness/mass and 5x-10x reduction in development time/cost.

Key take-aways:

  • Advancements in technology allow a step-change in what CAE software can do.
  • Generative Design and Digital Manufacturing are key enablers for development speed and lightweighting.
  • Currently, CNC is the best fabrication technique for most aerospace parts. However, AM will unlock new potentials as the tools mature.

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Speaker/Presenter: Ryan McClelland

Research Engineer
NASA GSFC's Instrument Systems and Technology Division (ISTD)

About Ryan

Ryan focused on developing and applying Digital Engineering technologies. He is also lead engineer on the Next Generation X-Ray Optics (NGXO) project which develops lightweight X-ray optics for future astrophysics missions. His previous technology development experience includes work on aluminum foam core optical systems and non-linear effects of clearances in kinematic mechanisms. Ryan has worked on flight missions with designs currently on orbit aboard the Hubble Space Telescope and International Space Station. Recently, he served as the Roman Space Telescope Instrument Carrier Manager. He received a B.S in Mechanical Engineering, summa cum laude, from the University of Maryland.

Moderator: Kenneth Wong

Senior Editor
Digital Engineering

Additive Manufacturing Resources

In the April 2024 issue of Digital Engineering, learn about the latest trends in additive manufacturing, securing design IP, and digital twin security.

In this Special Focus Issue of Digital Engineering, learn about the latest innovations in additive manufacturing, including multi-material printing, post processing costs, print simulation, and more.

3D Printing started as an extremely expensive, niche method of manufacturing that held few advantages over more traditional methods, and over the course of its lifetime became much more advanced.

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