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Engineering Materials

Software Will (Help) Make 3D Printing Metals in Space a Reality

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Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Nice to see the collaboration
Ann R. Thryft   2/3/2014 1:43:15 PM
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Glad you found it valuable shehan. And thanks for the Loughborough U video. We've touched on 3D printing buildings and 3D printing with concrete a few times in DN, such as the D-Shape
http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1394&doc_id=261796
but I wasn't aware of LU's work. Most of ours have been about technologies aimed at building structures in space, like this one:
http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=267732

William K.
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Re: Only a few limitations
William K.   1/31/2014 3:19:49 PM
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As for where the power comes from, either we bring it along or capture it on site. The challenge being that it takes a fair amount of power to heat metal enough to bond into a monolithic mass. And of course the lack of gravity makes powders harder to handle. Perhaps adding a fluidic binder to the metal powder would be the solution. It could also serve as a flux to assist the bonding process.

shehan
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Re: Only a few limitations
shehan   1/31/2014 1:48:36 PM
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@William – yes powering the system is a great challenge, I was wondering if we could use solar energy to power up the printer, just like the satellites. 

shehan
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Re: Printing in Space
shehan   1/31/2014 1:36:01 PM
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@Elizabeth – the printing environment on space is definitely delicate and challenging. Protecting the 3D printer itself is a difficult task.

shehan
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Re: Printing in Space
shehan   1/31/2014 1:34:13 PM
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@Greg – the main additional constraint is the gravitational pull, in space I can't just think of printing a 3D object. 

shehan
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Re: Nice to see the collaboration
shehan   1/31/2014 1:30:54 PM
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Today you could even create a house using a 3D printer in just 24hours. How impressive is that.

 Take a look at this video >> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfbhdZKPHro

shehan
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Re: Nice to see the collaboration
shehan   1/31/2014 1:28:38 PM
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@Ann – thanks for sharing the great post, first we created 3D models that were slam in size. Now we are talking about creating 3D objects on space. 

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Only a few limitations
Ann R. Thryft   1/31/2014 12:30:37 PM
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William's got a point. Even though I like to say that technology problems can be solved with enough dollars and brains thrown at them, I know that's not always the case. Especially not when the laws of physics are the technology barrier.
OTOH, the semiconductor industry has been truly innovative in finding ways to cope with those laws, again and again, over several decades, coming up with all kinds of new materials and processes along the way.
OTOOH, they've had more money than other industries. Way, way more.



William K.
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Re: Only a few limitations
William K.   1/30/2014 10:16:56 AM
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It may happen that the challenges can be overcome, but those pesky laws of physics seem to be non-negotiable.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Only a few limitations
Elizabeth M   1/29/2014 8:26:21 PM
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You make some interesting points here, William K. I am sure through innovative collaboration these challenges can be overcome.

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