Breaking News
3D Printing in Space
7/31/2014

< Previous   Image 3 of 3   

The first Made In Space 3D printer to be deployed on the Space Station will use thermoplastics to create parts and tools as a test demonstration.
The first Made In Space 3D printer to be deployed on the Space Station will use thermoplastics to create parts and tools as a test demonstration.

< Previous   Image 3 of 3   

Return to Article

View Comments: Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Ariella
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Raw material still needed
Ariella   8/4/2014 9:27:55 AM
NO RATINGS
@gbaggett75002 That would have to be brought up, but it is simpler to merely have the raw materials and turn them into what is needed than to anticipate exactly what will be needed and bring that many finished products. As for the supply chain for materials and everything else, NASA is working on that in conjunction with MIT. I wrote a blog about it that is posted here. 

gbaggett75002
User Rank
Rookie
Re: Raw material still needed
gbaggett75002   8/4/2014 9:16:52 AM
NO RATINGS
I was thinking exactly the same thing.  Where are they going to get the thermoplastic or metal used as the source material?

I would think that if a manufacturing station were to be parked in the asteroid zone between Earth and Mars and use those rocks as the source material, that would eliminate that one problem.  Silicon and Aluminium for free (almost).

Then comes energy.  Now if they could only print solar cells then NASA could print solar cells the first half and then print anything else from the materials found in the asteroids the problem is solved...  You still need the energy to melt and process the asteroids...lol.

This sounds like an excuse to build a "death star" ship...not to become a planet destroyer but as a ship builder.  Even the Star Trek Enterprise was built in space.

Maybe Elon Musk will see the benefit of building his own manufacturing station in space to sell parts at an hyperinflated price to whomever wants or can get them.

 

Ariella
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Running before walking
Ariella   8/4/2014 8:42:18 AM
NO RATINGS
@resistion I agree, more tests and further developments would be needed. These are still early days, as they say. But I do think the prospect is fairly bright. 

resistion
User Rank
CEO
Running before walking
resistion   8/3/2014 11:44:49 PM
NO RATINGS
I think the concept is attractive, but it really needs to be proven as economical and fully reliable back here on earth, with practical materials, like metals, not just plastic.

Tim R Johnson
User Rank
Rookie
Test case for 3D made-in-space printer
Tim R Johnson   8/3/2014 2:57:04 PM
NO RATINGS
In 2007 the ISS Solar Array Alpha Rotary Joint (Sarj) Bearing failed, disabling sun-tracling motion of half of the solar panels.  The joint was redesigned, and replacement parts were manufactured on earth, they were installed on a later flight to restore full electrical power, and a special grease was applied to improve lubrication.  For a realistic test, try fabricating replacement parts for this rotary joint.  The joint is metal, so it will have to be done with the improved printer.  Incidently, this is a large joint.  The entire assembly including bearings, gears, motor to rotate the panels has long dimension of about 10 feet.

Ariella
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Raw material still needed
Ariella   8/3/2014 8:43:37 AM
NO RATINGS
@Bert22306 Currently, 3D printing can be done with a number of materials, but moon dust is not one of them, as far as I know. Taking the materials from the moon, etc., might open one to charges of plundering space bodies, so I'm not certain they want to go there at this point. For now, the idea is that if you take the substances that can be 3D printed, which include plastics, as well as metals and ceramics, you'd have options to make what you need even if you did not foresee needing it years before when the original supply list was put togehter for the expedition.  

Ariella
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Printing in the Pleasure Dome
Ariella   8/3/2014 8:39:20 AM
NO RATINGS
@_HM no one is suggesting that we pollute space. What is printed on the test run will be returned to the earth. And what is printed in future is meant to be put to use -- the same way equipment manufactured on earth would be. 

Bert22306
User Rank
CEO
Raw material still needed
Bert22306   8/3/2014 8:37:42 AM
NO RATINGS
I would agree that it's ultimately going to be necessary to build things in space, we'll still need the raw material. So something will have to get shipped up there regardless. And it goes without saying, any manufacturing will involve waste, so the weight of the raw material will be more than what you'd ship up as finished parts. If we're talking about a station on the moon or Mars, at least in principle, one might think of using raw material from those locations.

What I'd really like to see is space vehicles or space stations that create a 1g environment for people, before talk about staying up there for extended periods of time. These structures can still provide the 0g environments, if these are needed. But really, people do need that 1g if they expect to spend any significant time out there, and still hope to come back to earth.

_hm
User Rank
CEO
Re: Printing in the Pleasure Dome
_hm   8/3/2014 6:32:23 AM
NO RATINGS
Why pollute space too? Just keep it pristine for future generations.

Ariella
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Printing in the Pleasure Dome
Ariella   8/1/2014 12:07:56 PM
NO RATINGS
@Max, yes, I'm very optimistic about it. While on earth it's often used just for novelty items, it can also be amazingly useful in medicine, aviation, and industry. And in space, as I said, it can prove a real game-changer for supply chain planning. 

Page 1 / 2   >   >>
August Cartoon Caption Winner!
August Cartoon Caption Winner!
"All the King's horses and all the KIng's men gave up on Humpty, so they handed the problem off to Engineering."
5 comments
Top Comments of the Week
Like Us on Facebook

Datasheets.com Parts Search

185 million searchable parts
(please enter a part number or hit search to begin)
EE Times on Twitter
EE Times Twitter Feed
Flash Poll
Radio
LATEST ARCHIVED BROADCAST
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.