Machine Design

Replicating the cosmos with CAD

Designers of a superlarge planetarium transferred data from an astronomy program into their CAD software as a means of locating 4,000 stars on a dome's surface.

The 150-ft-diameter Spitz Inc. dome uses aluminum panels riveted to a tubular aluminum frame. Panels are cut on a five-axis router guided by files generated with NC software from Kubotek USA.

The CAD software, KeyCreator from Kubotek USA, Marlborough, Mass., also helped Spitz Inc., Chadds Ford, Pa, modernize production. The aluminum tubes that frame the dome can now be drilled prior to being rolled to needed diameters. This eliminates the need to hold the tubes with special straps while being drilled. Manual drilling was slow and imprecise, and demanded hands-on attention from the manufacturing team.

The Spitz design team now generates models which are exported as IGES files to the manufacturing team which uses the data to guide NC machines.

Kubotek USA, (508) 229-2020,, Spitz Inc., (610) 459-5200,

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