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Practical Design and Use of Drill Template Jigs in Spacecraft Manufacturing

[+] Author Affiliations
David W. Robinson

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD

Paper No. IMECE2003-41125, pp. 251-258; 8 pages
  • ASME 2003 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Manufacturing
  • Washington, DC, USA, November 15–21, 2003
  • Conference Sponsors: Manufacturing Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3720-3 | eISBN: 0-7918-4663-6, 0-7918-4664-4, 0-7918-4665-2
  • Copyright © 2003 by ASME


Drill templates are used frequently in the fabrication and assembly of scientific spacecraft at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). They are used to provide precision location of a hole pattern for mating parts and assemblies, from small parts to multi-million dollar space telescopes. Typically these interfaces are one of a kind and crucial to the success of the space mission. Although proper geometric dimensioning and tolerancing for CNC machining can often be relied upon, there are many situations where either it is too difficult to achieve the required tolerances, too difficult to inspect, or too uncertain. Once the decision is made to use a drill template at a critical interface, there are several key design considerations including how to hold the piece to be drilled, how to properly and repeatably align the template to the part, and how to step through the drilling process. In addition to these considerations, there are a remarkable number of tips and techniques used by the people on the shop floor to make the process work well. This paper includes many of these tips gathered from technicians and engineers from around NASA GSFC.

Copyright © 2003 by ASME



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