My colleague Andrew Boch and I were asked to come down to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and work with Dr. Kelly Snook to help introduce NASA’s engineering staff to the benefits of rapid prototyping and low-cost 3d fabrication. We worked tirelessly for a week to set up the Lab and prepare the engineers for their (remote) crash course at the Fab Academy.
It was an intense week that included installation and configuration of a 40-watt laser cutter, a 3-d Modela mini-mill, a large-format CNC vinyl cutter, and all the associated software needed for their operation. While this was happening, we also prepared some introductory talks and materials to help secure buy-in from NASA management. Over the course of the week we met with several high-level civil servants and discussed the different opportunities that the in-house FabLab would facilitate.
The project was a success, and the space became very popular with NASA folk. Its popularity would later lead to the formalization of FabLab-inspired prototyping practices now in place at the SpaceShop.