Thursday, April 19, 2012

3D-Printing in Space

Nextbigfuture published a couple of posts about the use of 3D-printing for future space missions and applications:

  • A printable spacecraft project, by Kendra Short and Dr. David Van Buren, is running as part of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts: "Flexible printed electronics have revolutionized consumer products such as cellular phones and PDAs, allowing greater functionality with decreasing size and weight. We think the same can be done for spacecraft. We propose to investigate the feasibility of implementing a complete end to end spacecraft - science measurement through data downlink – based purely on flexible substrate “printed” electronics. The benefits would be decreased design/fabrication cycle time, reduced unit level mass and volume, and decreased unit level cost." - [presentation (pdf)]
  • Also part of the 2012 NIAC Spring Symposium: Contour Crafting Simulation Plan for Lunar Settlement Infrastructure Build up, by Behrokh Koshnevis. ”Contour Crafting is a system for printing with cement like a very large ink jet printer. It has made 1 story structures here on earth.” - [presentation (pdf, 121mb)]
  • Additive Manufacturing for the Space Industry, by Made in Space, Inc. “Made in Space, Inc. is a space manufacturing company that leverages the rapid advancements in 3D printing and additive manufacturing to offer unique solutions for the aerospace industry. Additive manufacturing is the process of building (or “3D printing”) a product layer by layer. A wide range of materials can be printed with additive manufacturing machines, from hard plastics to Aluminum and Titanium. Example spacecraft components that can be built include more efficient rocket nozzles and lighter miniaturized satellite parts.” - [Made in Space, Inc.]

[via] [2012 NIAC Spring Symposium]



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    my original comment was just WOOOOW. but seriously this is the most pragmatic way to build in space and it makes so much...
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    They say we need to build a new future for humanity. Turns out we just need to fabricate it.
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