IsoTruss® Manufacturing

Due to its spider-web-like geometry, the most obvious method for manufacturing IsoTruss® structures is filament winding, although this requires manufacturing one structure at a time, and limits the fabrication to single-grid style structures. 

All of the IsoTruss® structures fabricated so far have been filament wound.  As with other filament wound structures, the IsoTruss can be fabricated using integral, dissolvable, or collapsible tooling. Integral tooling eliminates the need for mandrel removal, but requires new tooling for each structure. Likewise, dissolvable tooling requires casting a new mandrel for each structure, but allows pressure to be applied during curing and is easily removed afterwards.

A more cost-effective alternative for high volume production is an automated process designed to continuously produce composite grid structures.  Below is a schematic of the automated process which was selected as one of 25 semi-finalists in the 2007 Modern Marvels Invent Now Challenge (click on "2007 Winners", then "Semi-Finalists", then scroll down -- winners are in alphabetical order).  Another description of this recognition is found at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (#17 in alphabetical list).

A photograph of the first phase of the machine is shown below:

A photograph of the front and back of the first operational machine is shown below: