Tag Archives: NASA
President Obama Sees 3D Printed Future
The White House has announced a new program to create three new manufacturing innovation institutes, funding it with $200 million from the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Commerce, NASA, and the National Science Foundation. 3D printing is a key focus of the program.
Back in February, Obama called 3D printing a “revolutionary” technology in his State of the Union address, describing NAMII, the recipient of a $30 million Federal grant as “a once-shuttered warehouse [and] now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering the 3D printing that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything.”
Why 3D Printing?
In the White House press release, some example uses of 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, are presented.
The Department of Defense envisions customizing parts on site for operational systems that would otherwise be expensive to make or ship. The Department of Energy anticipates that additive processes would be able to save more than 50% energy use compared to today’s ‘subtractive’ manufacturing processes.
Read the full announcement at whitehouse.gov.
NASA 3D Printing Initiative
A NASA 3D printing initiative is embracing 3D printers and Maker technologies to prepare them for the future of space travel.
NASA has commissioned a company to build a 3D printer that can go into space. We reported about SpiderFab back in September 2012.
“If you’re going to explore Mars, or work on station, [and] you need to bring your own materials, then you really create a sustainable method of constructing a new habitat.”, said Matthew Reyes, Contractor at NASA Ames Research Center.
“Space Shop is our attempt to take the best practices and lessons learned from what we call the maker community,” said Dave Korsmeyer, the director of engineering at NASA Ames.
Learn more in the CNET video below.
3D Printing on Asteroids and Mars
NASA engineers use 3D printing to build a next-generation rover to support humans exploring other worlds, such as asteroids and, eventually, Mars. Watch the video below or see more at Stratasys.
As scientists prepare for the next stage in space exploration and the construction of a lunar base, there is a challenge. What do you do if something breaks? How do you ship repairs from Earth?
The answer is you don’t. Astronauts can use 3D printing to build repairs from moon dust.
Researchers at Washington State University have successfully simulated this process using a composite material similar to moon dust.
The simulant is an expensive combination of silicon, aluminum, calcium, iron and magnesium oxides. Meant to mimic the properties of the regolith found on the moon, the powdery material had a particle structure resembling that of ceramics.
Because of their tendency to crack, ceramics can be tough to manipulate using 3D printers. But the WSU researchers, including husband-and-wife team Amit Bandyopadhyay and Susmita Bose, had previously demonstrated that ceramic-like material can be re-formed with an on-demand fabricator to create custom-made bone scaffolding.
For the new study, the researchers fed the raw simulant powder into a 3D printer, heating the material to high temperatures and printing it out in smooth half-millimeter (0.02 inches) layers to form small cylindrical shapes with no visible cracks. The structures that came out of the printer were about as hard as typical soda lime glass, the researchers explain in a study detailing the recent experiments in the Rapid Prototyping Journal.
“It is an exciting science fiction story, but maybe we’ll hear about it in the next few years,” Bandyopadhyay said. “As long as you can have additive manufacturing set up, you may be able to scoop up and print whatever you want. It’s not that far-fetched.”
Moon photo by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center used under Creative Commons license.
A roundup of the top news On 3D Printing brought you from October 17 to October 21.
Thursday, October 18