3D printer first printed product in space
On September 22, the Zero G 3D printer, developed by Made In Space in collaboration with NASA specifically for work in zero gravity, was delivered to the ISS . After a series of calibration tests (it took only two calibration details to be printed), astronaut Barry Wilmore successfully printed the front panel for the printer itself: Aaron Kemmer, CEO of the company that created the printer, put it this way: “Everything went as planned, and can even to be a little better. "
If 3D printing on Earth is already quite commonplace, then the same cannot be said about space. The most “inhabited” place outside the planet is the International Space Station (ISS), and the scenario in which something breaks and the astronaut, instead of waiting for the required part from Earth, looks for a CAD-file on a laptop and prints it, looks actually quite attractive.
The Zero G printer. The
printed panel can hardly be called complicated - it’s just a plate measuring 7.6 by 3.8 centimeters and 6 millimeters thick, and since there were no previous cases of printing under microgravity conditions, it will soon return to Earth after “field tests” for investigation by Made in Space engineers . In total, many details will be printed, including those that were obtained as a result of the project.Future Engineers , where everyone could send their own CAD-file for printing in space.
Kemmer says Zero-G is just the beginning of future innovations for 3D printing in space. Among the planned improvements is the creation of a plastic reuse mechanism for parts that have been damaged, which should have a positive effect on the autonomy of space flight without the need for a reserve for printing.
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