Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility Fabrication Shop. NASA photo by Tom Tschida. The DAOF Fabrication Shop is a first response manufacturing, modification, and repair center supporting NASA aircraft and related experimental hardware. While the primary focus is to support Site 9 activities we also provide manufacturing, modification, and repair assistance to operations at Dryden.
With the ability to perform precision machining, sheetmetal fabrication, composite, and welding capabilities, the master craftsmen in the Fabrication Shop support fabrication of a wide spectrum of aircraft, flight hardware, ground support equipment, test hardware, and facility hardware. Expert technicians have extensive experience with exotic alloys like Monel®, Inconel®, titanium, carbon, and alloy steels.
Site 9 Fabrication Shop maintains a 4000 ft2 fabrication facility with a staff of expert machinists, sheetmetal/composite technicians, and welders with over 20 years average experience. With their valuable experience our technicians work hand-in-hand with engineering staff, providing advice, troubleshooting design problems, and creating prototypes that are then reverse engineered for future assemblies.
Our sheetmetal/composite technicians bring to the table multiple skills and are routinely tasked to perform backshop functions fabricating experimental components with tightly held tolerances as well as working in the hangar performing heavy structural modifications to the aircraft. Our technicians are also tasked with repairs and modifications to the composite components on the aircraft. Even though the technicians are proficient with all of the tasks listed they each have their own specialty that greatly enhance the capability of the shop.
Fabrication Shop technicians have extensive experience with CAD/CAM software including Pro/E, EZcam, Master cam, Gibbs, OMAX, and Merry Mechanization. Shop personnel can manufacture parts from customer-provided 2-D or 3-D CAD files or produce CAD files to customer requirements. CAM capabilities include the ability to interface with three machining centers (mills).
The Fabrication Shop has state-of-the-art computer numerically controlled (CNC) milling capabilities. Milling operations are performed on very precise, CNC milling machines with commonly held tolerances to ± 0.0002 in. The machinists have extensive experience in milling aluminum, steel, stainless steels, and alloys such as Monel®, Inconel®, and titanium. Additional CNC machining capabilities include a vertical machining center 30 x 16 x 20 in., 21-position tool changer, 3 axis capabilities, 15 HP, 8000 RPM.
The Fabrication Shop has two conventional lathes for turning operations. Craftsmen perform turning operations on very precise lathes, with commonly held tolerances to ± 0.0002 in. The machines are capable of a 13" diameter and 30" length. We have extensive experience in turning aluminum, steel, stainless steels, and alloys such as Monel®, Inconel®, and titanium.
New to the Fabrication Shop is a 5-axis CNC press brake, rated at 175 tons that can bend up to 1"-thick steel plate. The press brake is also capable of bending parts up to 12' in length.
Other capabilities include experience on the following equipment:
- Variable speed drill press
- Hydraulic shear (6' bed)
- Rotex punch
- Hydraulic brake (6' bed, 55 ton)
- Two band saws
- Hydraulic corner notcher
- Pneumatic radius notcher
- Manual 4' roller
- Manual box and pan brake
- Spindle sander, disc sanders and belt sanders
Site 9 maintains two technicians who are certified welders with certifications covering most ferrous and non-ferrous applications including:
- Carbon steels
- Chrome Moly.
- Stainless steels
The welders maintain certification for flight hardware in accordance with AWS B2.1 and AMS STD-1595 standards, pressure system applications in accordance with ASME Section IX and structural applications in accordance with AWS D1.1.
Welding capabilities include:
- Two shop machines
- Gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW)
- Gas metal arc welding (GMAW)
- Shielded metal arc welding (SMAW)
Sample Parts The Fabrication Shop has produced parts in support of the Airborne Sciences Program such as SOFIA, DC-8, and ER-2 test beds. The parts are comprised primarily of aluminum and titanium, manufactured to tolerances as tight as ± 0.0002 in. The Fabrication Shop is certified to ISO 9001, and fabrication services are supported by an on-site, fully integrated quality assurance function.
Quality assurance equipment includes:
- Surface plates
- Dial-bore gauges
- Pin gauges
- Digital height gauges
- Hardness tester
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