In previous posts, we have explored how 3D printing could help support our adventures in space. This technology could theoretically help us print whole structures, allowing for the construction of buildings on other planets.
However, the latest in 3D printing developments might be more impressive still. The technology now exists to print in the vacuum of space itself, something that was never achievable previously. Read on to discover more about the latest in 3D printing.
An impressive 3D printer from unassuming start-up
At the end of last year the startup company Made in Space designed and developed the Zero G 3D printer. It enabled scientists to print their own parts in zero gravity environments, eradicating the need for these parts to be shipped from Earth. However, NASA have since struggled with the problem of replicating the process outside the ISS, in the vacuum.
The very same startup, Made in Space, have recently created a new 3D printer that may be an answer to the International Space Station’s problems. The company have undertaken a host of tests with NASA in order to test the printer's ability to print under such conditions - all of which have been a success and leave the duo hopeful and confident for the printer’s abilities in the field.
The website 3D Printing Industry reports on this exciting project in more detail:
“Made In Space has been working on a commercial 3D printing lab that will be flown to the ISS later this year. Dubbed the Additive Manufacturing Facility (AMF), this platform was outfitted with the firm’s proprietary ‘vacuum-compatible extrusion heads’. Over the course of the last month, the space-focused startup has been performing a round of tests on this next generation 3D printing system to demonstrate the ability to 3D print in the vacuum of space – an image of which is posted below. And, so far, so good, as Made In Space was able to 3D print a number of specimens from aerospace-grade plastics that will now be analyzed in terms of their mechanical properties, which will be compared to the same parts made in the Earth’s atmosphere.”
Pushing the boundaries
The latest 3D printer from Made In Space signals another giant leap towards our conquering of the Solar System. These advancements are a sign of continuing innovation in manufacturing, and of production capability outside Earth’s atmosphere. What might we see next from the technology in this field?
Tagged with: space