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Friday, May 27, 2011

Manufacturing Update

Two of the adjustable struts have been completed:

Two of the completed struts, viewed from one end

Struts and pallet
Work in progress!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

NASA Visits UT Tyler

Jeff Fox, Christie Sauers, and Leland Dysart from NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston visited UT Tyler for an update on the pallet and struts construction, as well as to visit with students from Fruitvale High School who are also working on the medium fidelity Orion mockup.

James Tubb, James Nelson, James Mills, Leland Dysart, and Christie Sauers discuss the pallet design at the UT Tyler Fabrication Laboratory.
Further discussion of the pallet, while UT Tyler team leader James Tubb refers to the project report and drawings.
Weld prepared as an example of how the strut ends will be fabricated.
Fruitvale High School representatives and NASA engineers watching a demo of the laser cutter in the UT Tyler Manufacturing Laboratory.
One of the main purposes of the visit was for NASA engineers to take a look at the pallet and address concerns about weight.  The current pallet design weights 495 lbs, not including the struts.  A quick call to JSC verified that the forward bulkhead, from which the pallet with be suspended, had been designed for sufficient strength to support the pallet, struts, training astronauts, and technicians.

NASA engineers also wanted to see examples of the various welds that would be used to hold the pallet together.  UT Tyler engineering dean Dr. James Nelson, who made it possible for UT Tyler and various high schools in East Texas to participate in this project, also advised on the pallet based on his background in structural design.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Special VIP NASA Tour!

The UT Tyler NASA Orion team was invited to Johnson Space Center for a special, behind the scenes tour!
A big  "Thank You!" to Jeff Fox and Christie Sauers!

James Mills, James Tubb, Sara McCaslin, and Whitney Walker at Mission Control!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Practice Welds

Mr. Mills has begun to work on the pallet welding.  The images below show some of the practice welds from last Friday (May 13th).  These are single pass, 18V, 250 ipm (inches per minute) wire feed, 25 cfh (cubic feet per hour) of 75-52 shielding gas.  Top and bottom welds on the pallet will be ground flush tot he surface.

90 degree fillet weld

Side weld 4x6 to 2x6 steel tubing with a 3/16" wall

After bead blasting
All cleaned up

Friday, May 13, 2011

Manufacturing has Begun!

Mr. James Mills has starting manufacturing the pallet -- see the latest pictures below.

The steel tubing is heavy -- do not let its appearance fool you.  It is being maneuvered into place cut cutting by a powered overhead hoist

This picture shows it being positioned for cutting by a portable metal cutting saw (you can barely see the wheels on the bottom left side).

The wet appearance of the steel is due to coolant, to prevent the metal from heating up excessively during the cutting process.

This shows how the workpiece is setup for cutting it to the proper length.

This shows the cut pallet pieces assembled, but not yet welded.

Note the use of square tubing to form the pallet.

This photo shows the various sizes of tubing used to form the main body of the pallet.

The welding process will be starting before too long.  The images below are various shots of the welding area in the UT Tyler Fabrication laboratory.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Materials Arriving!

Mr. James Mills bringing in some more of the steel tubing for the pallet.

Welding area, where the pallet and part of the struts will be welded.
Welding area with view of welding table, masks, etc.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Materials Ordered!

The team now has the materials ordered and manufacturing will begin as soon as the materials arrive on campus!  Reports, assembly drawings, and final analysis details are being wrapped up quickly.

If anyone is on campus today, be sure to stop by the Ratliff Engineering Bldg -- RBN, basement floor -- to our display.  The Senior Design Expo for electrical and mechanical engineers is in progress today from 2 to 3:30 pm.  While this project was not a part of senior design, the powers that be let the team have some space to present the project.