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Hi, my name is Melvin Cator. I have recently retired after over 47 years in the Aerospace industry. I started out in 1970 with an apprenticeship with Hawker Siddeley (later British Aerospace) before becoming a draughtsman. CAD/CAE then reared its head before I turned to the IT side of the whole engineering software infrastructure at Airbus Defence and Space.
My introduction to 3D printing came when my manager asked me to investigate the possibility of setting up a local 3D printing facility. This was to be part of an initiative to make as many existing 3D print (metallic and non-metallic) facilities within the Airbus group available to all of Airbus worldwide via an internally developed portal. Before I retired, our local facility of 4 Ultimaker 3 printers had been in place for 15 months and had processed, via the portal based request system, just over 1000 prints. These ranged from prototypes to shop floor tooling with requests coming from Germany, France, Spain and, of course, the UK.
I recall during one of my interviews many years ago that I was given a drawing of a complex bracket and asked how I would fabricate it. Choices in those days were limited to machine it from solid or produce a riveted sheet metal assembly. Today, it’s amazing to think that I would immediately say – 3D Print it.
I look forward to becoming a CREATE Education Ambassador and helping others to find the benefits of this amazing technology.