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Dec 10, 2016, 12:49 AM
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Rocket engine nozzle fabrication

Iron Man released a video of a Merlin 1 nozzle being fabricated. It made sense for it to be formed around a plug on a lathe. The intriguing part was how everything else was jerryrigged. A bank of acetylene torches heat the work piece. The torch placement doesn't have to be very precise. The pressure from the flames pushes the metal down onto the plug. The torches have to be manually repositioned as the nozzle bends down & the torch fuel tanks have to be refilled. It seems to take many hours of painstaking manual labor, but launching 12 times per year only takes 120 engines, leaving 3 days to make each engine nozzle. It's far faster than braze welding thousands of tubes.

Judging from the thickness, the work piece already contains the cooling channels. It would have originally been a disk. 2 metal disks with radiating patterns of grooves would have been fused by a very large hydraulic press & heat. Then the bending of the fused disk around the nozzle plug would have retained the cooling channels. The method was probably 1st devised by the Russians.
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