Author Topic: 3D printer for space  (Read 43306 times)

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #20 on: 11/04/2012 05:21 PM »
A variety of 3D printers are likely to be needed in aerospace.

a. A very high precision 3D printer.
b. A very large 3D printer.
c. A 3D that is both large and has a very high precision.  (derived from both a and b.)
d. A 3D printer that uses regolith.
could you define aerospace?   my thinking atm is to use the space lab the ISS to perfect a 0G printer and grow from there.


There will be 3 main user location types for 3D printers:
1. spacestations and spacecraft with microgravity.
2. Mars and Moon bases with low gravity.
3. Earth based laboratories and factories with 1G.

Offline SpacexULA

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Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #21 on: 11/04/2012 05:33 PM »
I'm wondering if anyone on this thread has actually used a 3d printer.

I have, once or twice, and only make-shift amateur ones.

The big design constraint appears to be somewhat gravity-related. I can imagine printing things in zero-g that could only be printed on the ground with difficulty.

Is there an expert opinion available?



&

http://madeinspace.us/

I am one of the Administrators for RepRap.org, the most common 3d printer platform in the world.

Filament deposit method 3d printing has been done inverted and in Zero G.  Both Powder bed and Resin 3d printers have some pretty serious mechanical issues getting them to work in Zero G, but who knows they could be rectified tomorrow.

FDM printing is not gravity based at all, the filament is pulled in, forced into the layer below the nozzle and fused as the heat energy is transferred from the heated plastic to the cooler layer that was laid down in the last pass.

As much as I love 3d printing, I think people get a bit ahead of themselves on what 3d printing is and it's mechanical limitations.  I really don't see you getting away from a situation where you need a subtractive mill, a laser cutter, and some form of Rapid Prototyper.  It's quite a challenge to get these machines to do each others jobs because of how mechanical different their load and speed requirements are.
« Last Edit: 11/04/2012 05:43 PM by SpacexULA »
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Offline QuantumG

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Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #22 on: 11/04/2012 10:57 PM »
Thanks!
I hear those things are awfully loud. It glides as softly as a cloud. What's it called? Monowhale!

Offline Prober

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Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #23 on: 11/05/2012 02:18 PM »
A variety of 3D printers are likely to be needed in aerospace.

a. A very high precision 3D printer.
b. A very large 3D printer.
c. A 3D that is both large and has a very high precision.  (derived from both a and b.)
d. A 3D printer that uses regolith.
could you define aerospace?   my thinking atm is to use the space lab the ISS to perfect a 0G printer and grow from there.


There will be 3 main user location types for 3D printers:
1. spacestations and spacecraft with microgravity.
2. Mars and Moon bases with low gravity.
3. Earth based laboratories and factories with 1G.
Filament deposit method (FDM) would be the preferred method for 0 G and low gravity atm.   Best operation wise, and consumables wise (storage)


My current task is research on SLA for future generations of HW.
Low cost Stereolithography (SLA) 1st generation has just started to become available via Kickstarter projects.  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/formlabs/form-1-an-affordable-professional-3d-printer    Check out the video on that Kickstarter and note how "Apple like" the printer is.

Features better higher res print quality. Consumable wise (storage) would be a major issue for use in space as the materials (liquid) use UV rays to process. Current designs also require 1 G.   These design and operation issues can be engineered out.


« Last Edit: 11/05/2012 07:54 PM by Prober »
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Offline SpacexULA

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Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #24 on: 11/05/2012 03:05 PM »
Prober, I don't know if I mentioned to you over in the RepRap IRC http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=reprap but the non profit branch of Lulzbot http://www.lulzbot.com/en/3d-printer/153-ao-100.html Aleph Objects has became a Silver sponcer of Mars One.

There is talk of some prizes or other cooperation between RepRap.org/Aleph Objects/Mars One.  We will see how far that goes in reality.
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Offline Joel

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Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #25 on: 11/05/2012 11:14 PM »
Does anyone know how far we are from having a 3D printer that is able to print the parts needed for another 3D printer, i.e. as a basis for a self-replicating machine? Or is it not at all feasible?
« Last Edit: 11/05/2012 11:21 PM by Joel »

Offline QuantumG

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Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #26 on: 11/05/2012 11:27 PM »
All of the 3d printers do that.

None of them have systems to do assembly of those parts.

So, unless you're happy with having human hands as part of the life cycle of your self-replicating machine, the pertinent question is: where's the robots?

They're coming along, and 3d printing is helping.




I hear those things are awfully loud. It glides as softly as a cloud. What's it called? Monowhale!

Offline Prober

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Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #27 on: 11/06/2012 03:04 AM »
Does anyone know how far we are from having a 3D printer that is able to print the parts needed for another 3D printer, i.e. as a basis for a self-replicating machine? Or is it not at all feasible?

the self replicating printer (reprap) dream has been pushed back.  Today its cheaper to make some of the parts via the printer, manufacture the metal parts (more metal than before), and add the electronics.

Also you need to add in that the pace of new innovations make changes to the 3D printers in a constant upgrade process.
 
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Offline Joel

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Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #28 on: 11/06/2012 08:49 PM »
Cool, I didn't know they got that far. Thanks!

Offline catdlr

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Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #29 on: 11/07/2012 12:04 AM »
3D Printer for SLS

Space Launch System Using Futuristic Tech to Build Rockets

Published on Nov 6, 2012 by NASAMarshallTV

A state-of-the-art machine was recently delivered to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., to create intricate metal parts for America's next heavy-lift rocket. (NASA/MSFC)

Tony De La Rosa

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #30 on: 11/07/2012 08:51 AM »
3D Printer for SLS

Space Launch System Using Futuristic Tech to Build Rockets

Published on Nov 6, 2012 by NASAMarshallTV

A state-of-the-art machine was recently delivered to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., to create intricate metal parts for America's next heavy-lift rocket. (NASA/MSFC)
Thats really super cool. I love the fact it just uses metal powder. I have heard it claimed that you could gather iron powder from lunar regolith with little more than a magnet.

Offline DarkenedOne

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Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #31 on: 11/07/2012 09:48 PM »
3D Printer for SLS

Space Launch System Using Futuristic Tech to Build Rockets

Published on Nov 6, 2012 by NASAMarshallTV

A state-of-the-art machine was recently delivered to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., to create intricate metal parts for America's next heavy-lift rocket. (NASA/MSFC)
Thats really super cool. I love the fact it just uses metal powder. I have heard it claimed that you could gather iron powder from lunar regolith with little more than a magnet.

I do not believe that pure iron exists on the moon.  You have oxides.

Offline guckyfan

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Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #32 on: 11/08/2012 07:53 AM »

I do not believe that pure iron exists on the moon.  You have oxides.

I don't know. But meteorites contain iron, not iron oxide. So if impact pulverizes meteorites, there could be iron as there is no oxygen.

As far as I know that powder needs very specific properties like size and homogenity of size though. Unlikely the assembled iron would have those properties.


Offline KelvinZero

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Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #33 on: 11/08/2012 07:54 AM »
3D Printer for SLS

Space Launch System Using Futuristic Tech to Build Rockets

Published on Nov 6, 2012 by NASAMarshallTV

A state-of-the-art machine was recently delivered to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., to create intricate metal parts for America's next heavy-lift rocket. (NASA/MSFC)
Thats really super cool. I love the fact it just uses metal powder. I have heard it claimed that you could gather iron powder from lunar regolith with little more than a magnet.

I do not believe that pure iron exists on the moon.  You have oxides.

Well you definitely do have pure (non-oxidised) iron, but after an internet search im not convinced these exist in significant quantities except embedded in glasses as specks.

http://curator.jsc.nasa.gov/curation.cfm
"Moon soil contains pure iron metal, which would quickly rust in Earth's atmosphere"

This link mentions pure iron, but apparently embedded (but not oxidized) rather than as free particles.
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2006/04apr_magneticmoondust/

This link claims you can extract iron with a simple magnet, but perhaps it is not as scientifically robust.
http://www.lunarpedia.org/index.php?title=Iron_Beneficiation


Offline Prober

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Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #34 on: 11/08/2012 04:06 PM »
3D Printer for SLS

Space Launch System Using Futuristic Tech to Build Rockets

Published on Nov 6, 2012 by NASAMarshallTV

A state-of-the-art machine was recently delivered to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., to create intricate metal parts for America's next heavy-lift rocket. (NASA/MSFC)
Thats really super cool. I love the fact it just uses metal powder. I have heard it claimed that you could gather iron powder from lunar regolith with little more than a magnet.

I'd like to see NASA take this to the next level......what's needed is a low cost, compact, hight power laser.  Develop that and make it available...the open printer communities will run with it.
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Offline Prober

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Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #35 on: 11/09/2012 04:05 PM »
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Offline Blackstar

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Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #36 on: 11/09/2012 05:49 PM »
1-Instead of asking what component on the ISS a 3d printer could reproduce, perhaps we should be asking the engineers who design each component (especially of a future BEO ISS) to, where possible, design their prototypes to a similar machine.


2-Therefore whenever anyone suggests such toys don't help current missions, this suggests we are currently not performing the right missions.


1-At this very moment I am sitting in a briefing by a NASA ISS official explaining how they plan for experiments on ISS, what the limitations are, etc. The planning is very careful and constrained, not open-ended like you imply. Before you can put an experimental technology into an operational role--i.e. rely upon it--you have to do a lot of trades to make sure that this is a better solution than the tried and reliable solutions we already have.

2-That's not reality.

Offline go4mars

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Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #37 on: 11/09/2012 06:58 PM »
future "nano" level printers are being worked on, and major changes in feed stocks will open up, so in vacuum might be useful.
Links?
Thinking further out:  Could zero-g and vacuum enable atom/molecule scale of printing?  monatomic ionized fields, nano-annodes, static, photon impactors/EMR fields, and such... ? 

On Mars it can eliminate a reorder delay of several years.
This could be a useful application potentially.  Labour saving is the big benefit; break a shovel?  Print a new one rather than machining one from other tools/casting a new one.  Print some of the parts of a bull-dozer or electric dirt-bike using locally-sourced feedstocks.  Lot's of things.  Colonists could state what they want, and volunteers on Earth could program a file for them.  Or suggest things that they might want. 

Aleph Objects has became a Silver sponcer of Mars One.
Ah.  Very interesting.

If you knew the specific part that would break, of course you would prefer to have a replacement from earth.
Might be able to save some weight this way though.  Build stuff such that it might break (non-critical stuff at first).  If it breaks, just print out the beefier one.  Yes I know the feedstock and 3D printer would weigh something, but if there is enough mass savings through shaving margins, then it might make sense.  This would particularly be the case in the context of something far larger than ISS.  But makes less sense if launching is cheap.  So, I guess doesn't make much sense afterall. 

I can imagine printing things in zero-g that could only be printed on the ground with difficulty.
Like elongated fragile things that cannot support their own weight under gravity but might have utility in space beyond just art (like a lightweight filter system or something)? 

it just uses metal powder. I have heard it claimed that you could gather iron powder from lunar regolith with little more than a magnet.
Not unlike iron-rich dust on Mars.  Very Very interesting to think about the possibilities. 

You have oxides.
powder needs very specific properties like homogenity of size though.
Both of those concerns (smelting and chopping to proper size) might be addressed with a laser, perhaps the same one, before they are dropped into the feedstock pot.  Maybe a robust system could use fairly rich natural oxide dusts all at once in the place things are built (a research direction anyway).  There may be dust deposits that have already been appropriately sorted in size by wind.  Alternatively, and probably more near-term, the feedstock could be made separately to required specifications.

This link mentions pure iron, but apparently embedded (but not oxidized) rather than as free particles.
"Embeded" does not imply lithified.  They might be dragged out with magnets and even mass-sorted by shooting them through a magnetic field. 

I hope the Planetary Resources Corp has some 3D print nerds in the stable.  Or at least one who pays close attention to trends and developments.  If 3D printing continues to develop quickly, some interesting implications exist for asteroid mining.  Like making your own fuel tanks (and other bits). 

By the way, as QG pointed out, until improvements in speedy robotics make 3D printing a very attractive R&D area for large-scale manufacturers on Earth, I don't expect we'll see dramatically cool things happen in space in this regard.  I think the main driver for improving 3D print capability will not be aerospace. 
« Last Edit: 11/09/2012 07:02 PM by go4mars »
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Online sanman

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Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #38 on: 11/09/2012 10:58 PM »
I thought Electron Beam Melting pioneered by Arcam was more advanced than Selective Laser Melting. Don't all the Formula-1 racing teams use it?

Offline Prober

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Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #39 on: 11/09/2012 11:02 PM »
future "nano" level printers are being worked on, and major changes in feed stocks will open up, so in vacuum might be useful.
Links?
Thinking further out:  Could zero-g and vacuum enable atom/molecule scale of printing?  monatomic ionized fields, nano-annodes, static, photon impactors/EMR fields, and such... ? 

On Mars it can eliminate a reorder delay of several years.
This could be a useful application potentially.  Labour saving is the big benefit; break a shovel?  Print a new one rather than machining one from other tools/casting a new one.  Print some of the parts of a bull-dozer or electric dirt-bike using locally-sourced feedstocks.  Lot's of things.  Colonists could state what they want, and volunteers on Earth could program a file for them.  Or suggest things that they might want. 

Aleph Objects has became a Silver sponcer of Mars One.
Ah.  Very interesting.

If you knew the specific part that would break, of course you would prefer to have a replacement from earth.
Might be able to save some weight this way though.  Build stuff such that it might break (non-critical stuff at first).  If it breaks, just print out the beefier one.  Yes I know the feedstock and 3D printer would weigh something, but if there is enough mass savings through shaving margins, then it might make sense.  This would particularly be the case in the context of something far larger than ISS.  But makes less sense if launching is cheap.  So, I guess doesn't make much sense afterall. 

I can imagine printing things in zero-g that could only be printed on the ground with difficulty.
Like elongated fragile things that cannot support their own weight under gravity but might have utility in space beyond just art (like a lightweight filter system or something)? 

it just uses metal powder. I have heard it claimed that you could gather iron powder from lunar regolith with little more than a magnet.
Not unlike iron-rich dust on Mars.  Very Very interesting to think about the possibilities. 

You have oxides.
powder needs very specific properties like homogenity of size though.
Both of those concerns (smelting and chopping to proper size) might be addressed with a laser, perhaps the same one, before they are dropped into the feedstock pot.  Maybe a robust system could use fairly rich natural oxide dusts all at once in the place things are built (a research direction anyway).  There may be dust deposits that have already been appropriately sorted in size by wind.  Alternatively, and probably more near-term, the feedstock could be made separately to required specifications.

This link mentions pure iron, but apparently embedded (but not oxidized) rather than as free particles.
"Embeded" does not imply lithified.  They might be dragged out with magnets and even mass-sorted by shooting them through a magnetic field. 

I hope the Planetary Resources Corp has some 3D print nerds in the stable.  Or at least one who pays close attention to trends and developments.  If 3D printing continues to develop quickly, some interesting implications exist for asteroid mining.  Like making your own fuel tanks (and other bits). 

By the way, as QG pointed out, until improvements in speedy robotics make 3D printing a very attractive R&D area for large-scale manufacturers on Earth, I don't expect we'll see dramatically cool things happen in space in this regard.  I think the main driver for improving 3D print capability will not be aerospace. 
just one nano...you should google for a list
http://nano3dprinting.net/nanoprinting/3d-printing-at-nano-scale-29024199
« Last Edit: 12/07/2013 04:26 PM by Prober »
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