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Friday, 19 December 2014

3D Printing Now in Space. Tools and objects "Made in Space"

3D Printing Now in Space. Tools and objects Made in Space"
Commander Barry Wilmore with the 3D printed wrench
Nasa
Previously, if an astronaut needed a specific tool it would have to be flown up on the next mission to the ISS, which could take months.

In November astronauts aboard the ISS printed a replacement part for the recently installed 3D printer. A total of 21 objects have now been printed in space, all of which will be brought back to Earth for testing.

When International Space Station commander Barry Wilmore needed a wrench, Nasa knew just what to do. They "emailed" him one. This is the first time an object has been designed on Earth and then transmitted to space for manufacture.


Chen also explained the process of sending hardware to space. First, the part is designed by Made In Space in CAD software and converted into a file-format for the 3D printer. This file is then sent to Nasa before being transmitted to the ISS. In space the 3D printer receives the code and starts manufacturing. "On the ISS this type of technology translates to lower costs for experiments, faster design iteration, and a safer, better experience for the crew members, who can use it to replace broken parts or create new tools on demand," Chen said.

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