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Establishing A Computer Aided Manufacturing System To Extend The Capability Of Traditional Aircraft And Spacecraft Design Courses

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.182.1 - 2.182.8



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Paper Authors

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Charles N. Eastlake

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Alfred L. Stanley

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2502

Establishing a Computer-Aided Manufacturing System to Extend the Capability of Traditional Aircraft and Spacecraft Design Courses

Charles N. Eastlake, Alfred L. Stanley Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

The Aerospace Engineering Department at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Daytona Beach, FL, campus has just completed the initial implementation of a Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) system within its long established capstone aircraft and spacecraft design course sequences. This paper details the development process which we went through in order to establish that capability.

1. Why do we need it ? Students in the design sequence began using Computer Aided Design (CAD) in 1983 and by 1993 the CAD system had evolved to the point of having the capability of doing 3- dimensional solid modeling. At that time Dr. Jim Ladesic acquired a National Science Foundation Instrumentation and Laboratory Improvement Grant to acquire a stereolithography rapid prototyping system which could create actual parts from the CAD solid models. Students learned many lessons about the realities of making three- dimensional shapes from this system and took great pride in showing off their designs. But the STL machine is limited to relatively small parts, about 9 inches in the longest dimension. And the polymer material made by this system is both expensive and sufficiently brittle that it cannot be subjected to any significant loads. The new CAM system described in this paper takes a another step closer to actual engineering practice. It incorporates a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) 3-axis milling machine which can work from the same database already established. This system can make much larger parts, up to eight feet long, and can make them from structurally testable materials.

From a design education point of view, the Boolean algebra or intersection of sets approach to building solid models on a computer screen is deceptively easy. Surfaces overlap each other, cut through each other, can be added and subtracted, and can be painlessly rotated to any angle for viewing. Students find a whole new world of unexpected challenges when they are forced to deal with the geometric realities of making actual parts from their CAD models. Typical frustrations occur from addressing cutting tool access to the surface to be cut, accurately defined reference points and planes for turning parts over to cut the other side, cutter type and speeds to get adequate surface finish, and separation of model parts for manufacture so that they have mating portions that can be assembled in a structurally secure manner.

2. How did we get it ? This effort was made possible in part by the National Science Foundation Division of Undergraduate Education Grant No. DUE-9451355, through the Instrumentation and

Eastlake, C. N., & Stanley, A. L. (1997, June), Establishing A Computer Aided Manufacturing System To Extend The Capability Of Traditional Aircraft And Spacecraft Design Courses Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6552

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