Sep.6, 2013

Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO and the most inspiring entrepreneur in the world posted a video showing off how his team builds new rocket ship parts with hand gestures through the air and a high-grade 3D laser metal printer.

Musk revealed this latest invention via Twitter last month:

"We figured out how to design rocket parts just w hand movements through the air (seriously). Now need a high frame rate holograph generator."


"Will post video next week of designing a rocket part with hand gestures & then immediately printing it in titanium"

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 23, 2013

By combining the gesture-sensing Leap Motion controller with other technologies, like the Oculus Rift VR handset, a 3D Projector, or virtual reality glasses and a modified version of the Siemens NX design suite, SpaceX's engineers are able to check, edit their models without touching a mouse.

SpaceX designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. The company was founded in 2002 to revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets.

"Right now we interact with computers in a very unnatural, sort of 2D way," Musk said in the video. "At SpaceX, we love to play with cutting-edge technology and are always looking for ways to turn science fiction into reality. It not only advances our work, but it's also fun!"

In the video Musk shows a concept they're exploring: natural gesture-based interaction with a computer-aided design program, leveraging a Leap Motion Controller. "This system is just the beginning, and gives a glimpse into what may come in the worlds of engineering and design."

Once the design is ready, the 3D model will be sent to a 3D laser metal printer that builds the engine prototype layer by layer with titanium powder.

"I believe we're on the verge of a major breakthrough in designer manufacturing in being able to take the concept of something fro your mind, translate that into a 3D object really intuitively on the computer, and then take that virtual 3d object and make it real just by printing," Musk said.

"It's going to revolutionize design and manufacturing in the 21st century."


Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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Michael Edward Coke wrote at 9/8/2013 9:19:54 PM:

Maybe Elon should just incorporate himself and sell stock at ten cents a share on all the world exchanges, thereby allowing every man, woman and child everywhere on the planet to buy at least one share........and then watch the quality of life soar as this man continues to invent life-changing objects and technologies.

Chronoseptor wrote at 9/7/2013 3:44:59 PM:

Cool but my arms are getting tired just watching.

Adrian wrote at 9/6/2013 1:51:35 PM:

It's all nice and flashy to be able to spin and zoom in and out using your hands, but when it comes to being productive, waving your hands around in the air in front of you doesn't cut it. At least not yet. Not to mention that the accuracy of current generation of tools (like a mouse and keyboard) far exceeds the accuracy one can achieve waving their hand around. I applaud them for pushing the technology of CAD software interface, and it will be very interesting to see what they come up with and how efficient it will be compared to current input tools.

Jd90 wrote at 9/6/2013 1:35:01 PM:

I would like to see a part actually modeled. I've seen enough demos that looked good but fell flat in practical use.being able to alter a view is just a portion of CAD use.

The Ironmonger wrote at 9/6/2013 1:32:23 PM:

I'm fairly certain that this means Elon Musk is Tony Stark. Disappointing - I was hoping to be. Still, good that /someone/ is!

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