Composites Manufacturing


Funded by the CU Engineering Excellence Fund, this custom-built winder will dramatically increase the design space for composite parts. It is capable of winding single-piece components at diameters upwards of 8 inches and lengths upwards of 15 feet, enabling rapid construction of Spaceshot hardware capable of reaching the edge of space. Additionally, stepping up from 2 axes (our current capability) to 4 axes will enable production of dramatically more complex geometries, including composite-overwrapped pressure vessels (COPVs) for use in our liquid rocket engine development.

Special thanks goes to Steelhead Composites for their assistance in making this project a success.

Currently under construction.


For the last 30 years, CADWIND has been the industry standard for generating complex composite winding schemes. It is an indispensable program for us, as it allows us to rapidly design, analyze, and manufacture high-performance composite parts using a workflow that has been continuously developed by the industry’s leading experts at Material.

After specifying a mandrel shape, CADWIND gives numerous options for creating geodesic and non-geodesic winding paths based on the parameters of the winding setup and desired part characteristics. In the viewport, CADWIND rapidly generates a preview of the wind with a scrollable timeline for instantaneous feedback on parameter modification. Once the optimal winding scheme has been created, CADWIND exports gcode directly to CNC control software for execution by our winder.

Furthermore, CADWIND will export laminate (.lam) files for analysis in FEA or Composite Star, which is Material’s all-embracing composite design software and database for composite materials. This is essential for us to be able to design our composite parts as properly-informed engineers.


In development.

POC: Sam Ciesielski

MATERIAL - Filament Winding & Composite Design
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