HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Blogs
Engineering Materials

Update: NASA 3D Printer for Space Passes First Tests

NO RATINGS
View Comments: Newest First|Oldest First|Threaded View
Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: NASA 3D Printer
Ann R. Thryft   8/16/2013 12:49:02 PM
NO RATINGS
You're welcome, Al. I think this is one of the most exciting areas of 3D printing technology.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Seems like an Obvious thing - FDM sticks to FDM
Ann R. Thryft   8/16/2013 12:47:40 PM
NO RATINGS
Jim, I'd like to go up there, too. I've been dreaming about it since I was a little kid. Re microG 3D printing, since the properties of 3D printer materials must have certain characteristics to work--both in the machine and in terms of how they build an object with the right specs--it may not be possible to make them much differently, and/or it can take a long time to figure out how to do so. Same goes for the machine itself. Actually, this design process has proceeded in the opposite direction from the one you suggest: it began with sending 3D printers designed to work on Earth into micro-G environments and seeing what happened, then designing a prototype somewhat like them and continually tweaking it to work in space.

a.saji
User Rank
Silver
Re: NASA 3D Printer
a.saji   8/16/2013 4:12:47 AM
NO RATINGS
@apresher: Yes indeed and in the future we will be able to see the objects in a much more realistic manner thanks to 3D printing technology.     

apresher
User Rank
Blogger
NASA 3D Printer
apresher   8/15/2013 9:54:37 PM
NO RATINGS
Ann, Very interesting post and follow-up on the work at NASA.  3D printing continues to show its potential as a technology that demands attention moving ahead.  Thanks.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Seems like an Obvious thing - FDM sticks to FDM
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   8/15/2013 6:52:20 PM
NO RATINGS
 Understood.  Experience teaches.  The scenario I was considering was this:  Astronauts in Gemini & early Apollo used to eat freeze-dried food; while later astronauts in Shuttle & Station missions enjoyed real food, such as broccoli with cheese sauce, whose natural "stickiness" kept food on a plate, keeping it from floating away. 

Point being, the first-attempts always tend to start with extreme caution for prevention; then loosen as experience teaches. 

IN the case of the FDM process for Zero-G, as your article eluded, the preliminary results are all very encouraging because the process seems to be working.  As I eluded, I think it's a natural.  But I understand your very logical explanation. 

I only wish I had the chance to experience Space; I'm certain my perspective would change!

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Seems like an Obvious thing - FDM sticks to FDM
Ann R. Thryft   8/15/2013 12:15:25 PM
NO RATINGS
Jim, nothing works in zero-G (actually, micro-G on the ISS, a plant or an asteroid) like it does in full 1G on Earth. Fluids don't flow right, and mechanics are completely different since force isn't the same. There's just as much effort involved in this project as in any other for an item that has to work "up there" for astronauts. Same goes for robotics, BTW, like the Mars and Moon rovers.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
User Rank
Blogger
Seems like an Obvious thing - FDM sticks to FDM
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   8/15/2013 12:00:38 PM
NO RATINGS
Ann- I'm missing the challenge of this effort – it seems to me it would be a naturally incremental advancement to place any FDM apparatus into zero gravity.  Consider even the lowest-end offering, such as the familiar MakerBOT.  It is data-fed by a laptop, mechanically driven using direct geared servos (which are gravity agnostic) and thermally/chemically bonded between printed layers.  The natural "stickiness" of each subsequently printed layer holds it naturally in "place" as it bonds and cools before the next subsequent layer is printed.  The whole system seems naturally suited to adaptation into a zero-gravity environment.  The one point that needs advancement could be the printed resolution.  Where MakerBOT (and other FDM's) are typically .004", the more refined Objet LaserJet solids are 10x better, at about .0004".  But that, too is a natural incremental advancement the FDM industry will pursue.  Zero-Gravity seems like a freebie to me. 

It's the first step to the StarTrek Replicator.  (One Martini, extra dry, please).

Partner Zone
More Blogs from Engineering Materials
As the 3D printing and overall additive manufacturing ecosystem grows, standards and guidelines from standards bodies and government organizations are increasing. Multiple players with multiple needs are also driving the role of 3DP and AM as enabling technologies for distributed manufacturing.
A growing though not-so-obvious role for 3D printing, 4D printing, and overall additive manufacturing is their use in fabricating new materials and enabling new or improved manufacturing and assembly processes. Individual engineers, OEMs, university labs, and others are reinventing the technology to suit their own needs.
For vehicles to meet the 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, three things must happen: customers must look beyond the data sheet and engage materials supplier earlier, and new integrated multi-materials are needed to make step-change improvements.
3D printing, 4D printing, and various types of additive manufacturing (AM) will get even bigger in 2015. We're not talking about consumer use, which gets most of the attention, but processes and technologies that will affect how design engineers design products and how manufacturing engineers make them. For now, the biggest industries are still aerospace and medical, while automotive and architecture continue to grow.
More and more -- that's what we'll see from plastics and composites in 2015, more types of plastics and more ways they can be used. Two of the fastest-growing uses will be automotive parts, plus medical implants and devices. New types of plastics will include biodegradable materials, plastics that can be easily recycled, and some that do both.
Design News Webinar Series
12/11/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
12/10/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
11/19/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
2/25/2015 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Jan 26 - 30, IPv6 for Micros – Hands-On
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  67


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Last Archived Class
Sponsored by Stratasys
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2015 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service