Our filament winder, affectionately known as “Windy”, is a machine designed to wrap composite threads (such as fiberglass, carbon fiber, or Kevlar) into custom shapes with axial symmetry with high precision, speed, and consistency. We’ll be using this machine to make body tubes and nosecones for the Karman 1 rocket. Rather than buy a costly commercial system, we designed and built the system in house – saving money and giving members unparalleled design experience. This machine will produce large composite structures for a fraction of the cost

On March 20, Structures members Trenton Charlson, Teri Polly, Neel Dutta, Jim Bigoness, and Suraj Buddhavarapu assembled the frame for our winding machine. This included lateral tracks, the main carriage, and filament guide rollers. The background design and manufacturing work for all of these parts were done by Trenton and Jim in the weeks leading up to the build session.

The last step in completing Windy is developing and implementing a computer control system and electronics layout to accept instructions for a part and produce said part. This is currently being worked on by Structures member Asimm Hirani and utilizes NEMA 34 Stepper motors. We hope to test wind our first tube by the end of July!