Composites Manufacturing

From custom phenolics to the first and largest student-built fully composite solid rocket motors, composites are the backbone of SRL’s technologies. Tremendous R&D effort has gone into scaling manufacturing while refining part quality for our flagship project Spaceshot. We are working to implement a 2-week Spaceshot production cycle via flexible tooling and tight process control.

CARBON —> SUBORBITAL SPACEFLIGHT IN < 14 DAYS

4-axis CNC Filament Winder

This is the machine that makes the machine. Designed in-house, it will replace our current 2-axis commercial winder we’ve been reverse engineering for 3+ years. Starting from scratch gave us the opportunity to create a system capable of evolving in a rapid feedback loop with our vehicle and propulsion technology. It will be responsible for producing

  • Airframe sections up to 15′ long/18″ diameter
  • R-class solid rocket motors
  • Carbon overwrapped pressure vessels (COPVs)
  • Liquid engine nozzles

Additionally, interchangeable tooling will enable us to machine radial holes and slots, finish part surfaces, and perform automated welds. Integrating a plethora of tooling into a single CNC machine pushes more manufacturing effort into software. More software defined manufacturing complexity results in a higher degree or quality control. Our software stack is comprised of:

  • CADWIND for wind toolpath generation
  • Custom gcode generator machining and welding operations
  • Mach4 for machine interface and motion control
CADWIND toolpath animation for a 6″ COPV
State of construction as of June 27th
Recent rendering of the winder

Curing Oven

Coming soon.

Mandrel Extractor

Our motor casing and airframes are wound on cylindrical mandrels which have to be removed from the finished part post-cure. This process grows more difficult as the mandrels see more use and lose their concentricity. Our mandrel extractor, also known as “The Negotiator”, uses a set of hydraulic jacks to pull the mandrel out from the cured composite.

POC: Sam Ciesielski – saci5314@colorado.edu – 734.709.5564

Special thanks to: