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Spacecraft manufacturer SpaceX designs rocket with hand gestures and prints it using a 3D printer

September 17, 2013 • News, Technology

The future of design and manufacturing has just gotten more promising in a video released by advanced rockets manufacturer SpaceX showing how a rocket part is being designed using hand gestures and ultimately producing it using a 3D printer.

Screenshot from SpaceX video

Screenshot from SpaceX video

SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk explained in this video how they were able to design the wire frame of a rocket engine using different software. The geniuses at SpaceX wrote a code that would be able to integrate the capabilities of Siemens NX and Leapmotion, and the resulting program has allowed them to manipulate the wire frame design just by the movement of the hands.

Simply by normal hand movements the designer can grab, rotate and move the design in the screen, and zoom it in and out on the frame.

“It’s a fun way to interface with what is really a complex model,” said Musk.

Siemens NX software is an integrated product design, engineering and manufacturing solution which uses synchronous technology for designing in an open environment. It also offers a full range of advanced part manufacturing applications and is integrated with Siemens’ Teamcenter, the leading Product Lifecycle Management platform.

Musk then proceeded to demonstrating how a 3D CAD model of the engine is being manipulated using different technologies such as a free standing glass projection like those used in the Iron Man movies, and Oculus Rift, a virtual reality software for 3D gaming.

“If you can just go in there and do what you need to do, just understanding the fundamentals of how the thing should work as opposed to figuring out how to make the computer make it work, then you can achieve a lot more in a shorter period of time.”

The 3D design comes to life with the help of a 3D printer which lays down fine particles of titanium and builds the design layer by layer.

“I believe we’re on a verge of a major breakthrough in design and manufacturing, to take the concept from your mind, translate that into a 3D object intuitively into the computer and then take that 3D object and be able to make it real just by printing it,” said Musk.

“It’s gonna revolutionize design and manufacturing in the 21st century.”

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