Sep 1, 2011

NASA to Showcase Novel Manufacturing Technology at Forum

NASA is hosting a two-day industry conference, Sept. 20-21, to promote an innovative manufacturing technique that can make metal parts from three-dimensional drawings - even in the zero gravity of space.

Government and industry leaders will discuss the future and possibilities of electron beam freeform fabrication or EBF3, which can be used to make components for aviation, spaceflight, or even the medical industry. At the forum NASA will present a novel technology developed by engineers at the Langley Research Center that can be applied to electron beam welding systems.

NASA's technique consists of an electron beam gun, wire feeder and positioning system inside a vacuum chamber. The beam is focused on a constantly feeding source of metal, which is melted and then accurately applied one layer at a time, according to a computer-aided design (CAD) drawing, to make a 3-D structural part without having to use a mold.

The EBF3 Forum at the Hampton Roads Convention Center will give industry and government participants an opportunity to learn more about NASA's technology and join in discussions on advancements, research and possible funding partnerships.

The forum is sponsored by NASA Langley, Old Dominion University Business Gateway, RTI International and Virginia PLTW. It is open to the public, but registration is required.