Author Topic: 3D printer for space  (Read 43639 times)

Online A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8502
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 351
  • Likes Given: 154
Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #40 on: 11/10/2012 01:13 AM »
Left to themselves the ISRU projects will produce iron bars on the Moon and Mars because that is what iron works on the Earth produce.  On small scale equipment producing iron particles is about the same level of difficulty as making a thick iron bar.  If lunar manufacturing processes prefer powder then we can dispense with the complexity of having big heavy rolling mills.

Online KelvinZero

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3803
  • Liked: 602
  • Likes Given: 157
Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #41 on: 11/10/2012 04:53 AM »
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.

American tax dollars at work.  ;)




Offline Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11386
  • Liked: 2898
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #42 on: 11/11/2012 12:44 AM »
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.

American tax dollars at work.  ;)

Would you prefer that they act recklessly? Is it more "fun" if a commercial airline pilot does barrel rolls with the plane?

We are talking about a very expensive piece of equipment here. They don't let the kids program the experiments.

Online KelvinZero

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3803
  • Liked: 602
  • Likes Given: 157
Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #43 on: 11/11/2012 01:09 AM »
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.

American tax dollars at work.  ;)

Would you prefer that they act recklessly? Is it more "fun" if a commercial airline pilot does barrel rolls with the plane?

We are talking about a very expensive piece of equipment here. They don't let the kids program the experiments.

Sorry, I was making a joke about you sitting in that briefing while typing messages into this forum. :)
« Last Edit: 11/12/2012 04:17 AM by KelvinZero »

Offline sanman

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4433
  • Liked: 669
  • Likes Given: 8
Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #44 on: 11/11/2012 06:20 PM »
Why wait for the ISS, Moon, or Mars to test this stuff out? Just test it out at some polar/Antarctic research station, to see whether it's all that it's cracked up to be. Surely they hate waiting for replacement parts as well, so 3D printing would probably be especially attractive for them.

Are there any blogs or published results from people using 3D printing in remote parts of the world? What are their opinions and verdicts on the pro's and cons of the technology?

Offline Prober

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10313
  • Save the spin....I'm keeping you honest!
  • Nevada
  • Liked: 702
  • Likes Given: 728
Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #45 on: 11/13/2012 04:21 PM »
Are there any blogs or published results from people using 3D printing in remote parts of the world? What are their opinions and verdicts on the pro's and cons of the technology?

the general answer is yes,  don't ask for a link the info is out there.

2017 - Everything Old is New Again.
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. ~ by Thomas Alva Edison

Offline Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 28559
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 8490
  • Likes Given: 5536
Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #46 on: 11/19/2012 07:21 PM »
Is it more "fun" if a commercial airline pilot does barrel rolls with the plane?
Okay, I agree with your other points, but the answer to this is: YES. :D

Quote
They don't let the kids program the experiments.
But Nanoracks does.
http://cosmiclog.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/06/15/12245222-hey-kids-send-your-stuff-into-orbit?lite
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=19519.225
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 28559
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 8490
  • Likes Given: 5536
Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #47 on: 11/19/2012 07:27 PM »
I just noticed this on another thread:
....[Made In Space, Inc.]
The company's Small Business Innovative Research proposal — submitted with Arkyd Astronautics, Inc. and NanoRacks, LLC — makes the project eligible to receive up to $125,000 in NASA funding sometime next year. If all goes well with upcoming parabolic and suborbital flight tests, Made in Space could see its first 3D printer reach the space station by 2014.
(emphasis mine) Notice also this was released in December, 2011, before Planetary Resources (fka Arkyd) did their official unveiling. Interesting.

But it shows that this Made In Space company is partnering with some other folk who have a little more firepower and experience (with NanoRacks) behind them. (Not a ton, but still)
« Last Edit: 11/19/2012 07:28 PM by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Prober

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10313
  • Save the spin....I'm keeping you honest!
  • Nevada
  • Liked: 702
  • Likes Given: 728
Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #48 on: 11/24/2012 07:34 PM »
A space related story...

US army builds its own 3D printer
The US military is working with 3D printers that can produce spare parts for spacecraft.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20269645

http://www.army.mil/article/90814/Smaller__cheaper_3_D_printer_offers_benefits___/

if the Military is using that Printrbot model I fear for the thinking going on.  They can do much better.


« Last Edit: 11/24/2012 07:38 PM by Prober »
2017 - Everything Old is New Again.
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. ~ by Thomas Alva Edison

Offline sanman

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4433
  • Liked: 669
  • Likes Given: 8
Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #49 on: 11/25/2012 06:29 AM »
I think it's the metal-based 3D printers that should be most relevant for space applications. I don't think you can print truly strong composites, can you?

I'd heard about a US drone called the Polecat being fabricated by 3D printing, and apparently it was made out of composites, but I doubt those would be space qualifiable.

The best 3D printers for high strength metal parts are supposed to be either these Selective Laser Sintering machines, or else the Electron-Beam Melting machines like the ones from Arcam.

Offline Prober

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10313
  • Save the spin....I'm keeping you honest!
  • Nevada
  • Liked: 702
  • Likes Given: 728
Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #50 on: 11/25/2012 02:06 PM »
I think it's the metal-based 3D printers that should be most relevant for space applications. I don't think you can print truly strong composites, can you?

I'd heard about a US drone called the Polecat being fabricated by 3D printing, and apparently it was made out of composites, but I doubt those would be space qualifiable.

The best 3D printers for high strength metal parts are supposed to be either these Selective Laser Sintering machines, or else the Electron-Beam Melting machines like the ones from Arcam.

composites can be made lighter and stronger then steel. 
2017 - Everything Old is New Again.
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. ~ by Thomas Alva Edison

Offline sanman

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4433
  • Liked: 669
  • Likes Given: 8
Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #51 on: 11/25/2012 02:18 PM »

composites can be made lighter and stronger then steel. 


Yes, but by 3D printing? And are they as strong as non-printed composites? Do they have optimal strength?

It seems to me that the nature of composites is such that additive manufacturing methods would not be best suited for optimizing their potential.
« Last Edit: 11/25/2012 02:19 PM by sanman »

Offline go4mars

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3752
  • Earth
  • Liked: 152
  • Likes Given: 3153
Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #52 on: 11/25/2012 04:14 PM »
Yes, but by 3D printing? And are they as strong as non-printed composites? Do they have optimal strength?

It seems to me that the nature of composites is such that additive manufacturing methods would not be best suited for optimizing their potential.
I'm no expert on composites (not even a novice), but I have seen a giant oven for baking giant composite payload fairings.  If the strengthening comes from the baking, then it seems to me this might be achieved by "add a really tiny bit, flash bake strengthen that bit with a laser, add a little tiny bit more, flash bake strengthen it with a laser, etc". until you've printed out something large and potentially complex in shape.  Right now, as far as I know, the composites need a big metal strongback shape to hold their form in the oven.  3D printing them might allow for new product geometries that right now could only be done in zero-g ovens or through assembly of sub-components. 

Anyone with knowledge of the strengthening and chemistry care to speculate? 
Elasmotherium; hurlyburly Doggerlandic Jentilak steeds insouciantly gallop in viridescent taiga, eluding deluginal Burckle's abyssal excavation.

Offline VatTas

  • Member
  • Posts: 66
  • Lithuania
  • Liked: 5
  • Likes Given: 12
Re: 3D printer for space - another twist
« Reply #53 on: 11/25/2012 05:24 PM »
Here's another twist about 3D printing, that has potential to be applied in space (e.g. on the Moon or even Mars):



Summary of the project:
Quote
In a world increasingly concerned with questions of energy production and raw material shortages, this project explores the potential of desert manufacturing, where energy and material occur in abundance.
In this experiment sunlight and sand are used as raw energy and material to produce glass objects using a 3D printing process, that combines natural energy and material with high-tech production technology.
Solar-sintering aims to raise questions about the future of manufacturing and triggers dreams of the full utilisation of the production potential of the world's most efficient energy resource - the sun. Whilst not providing definitive answers, this experiment aims to provide a point of departure for fresh thinking.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=25698.0
Edit: added link to earlier discussion about this project
« Last Edit: 11/25/2012 05:33 PM by VatTas »

Online A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8502
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 351
  • Likes Given: 154
Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #54 on: 11/25/2012 06:05 PM »
Artificial gravity can be applied to the object by rotating the manufacturing equipment.  This will make the ingredients go the right way.  The concentrated light would enter the enclosure at the centre and be aimed using rotating mirrors.

Offline sanman

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4433
  • Liked: 669
  • Likes Given: 8
Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #55 on: 11/25/2012 08:30 PM »
Okay, but high-strength composites usually have long fibers or laminar layers inside them. I don't think any of that could be done with 3D printing.

Online KelvinZero

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3803
  • Liked: 602
  • Likes Given: 157
Re: 3D printer for space - another twist
« Reply #56 on: 11/25/2012 09:21 PM »
Here's another twist about 3D printing, that has potential to be applied in space (e.g. on the Moon or even Mars):



Summary of the project:
Quote
In a world increasingly concerned with questions of energy production and raw material shortages, this project explores the potential of desert manufacturing, where energy and material occur in abundance.
In this experiment sunlight and sand are used as raw energy and material to produce glass objects using a 3D printing process, that combines natural energy and material with high-tech production technology.
Solar-sintering aims to raise questions about the future of manufacturing and triggers dreams of the full utilisation of the production potential of the world's most efficient energy resource - the sun. Whilst not providing definitive answers, this experiment aims to provide a point of departure for fresh thinking.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=25698.0
Edit: added link to earlier discussion about this project

That video is simultaneously awesome, hilarious and sad.

Offline baldusi

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7437
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Liked: 1446
  • Likes Given: 4499
Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #57 on: 11/27/2012 07:09 PM »
Okay, but high-strength composites usually have long fibers or laminar layers inside them. I don't think any of that could be done with 3D printing.
The fact that we still don't have the technology, doesn't means you can't make it. You could either have a 3D printer make a liner and then have a CNC machine do the thread turning, or have a fiber layering arm in addition to the material fuser. That we still don't have the technology doesn't means it's impossible.
BTW, if spiders can make their own fiber, it's possible that you could add a thread making head to a 3D printer.

Offline Prober

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10313
  • Save the spin....I'm keeping you honest!
  • Nevada
  • Liked: 702
  • Likes Given: 728
Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #58 on: 11/27/2012 07:17 PM »

composites can be made lighter and stronger then steel. 


Yes, but by 3D printing? And are they as strong as non-printed composites? Do they have optimal strength?

It seems to me that the nature of composites is such that additive manufacturing methods would not be best suited for optimizing their potential.

Yes by 3D printing. Unlimited only by your imagination.   

Keep in mind we are talking 3D printers in general here.  One is for ISS or no G use.  A lunar or Mars based system would each have their own features. 

I've got designs put on the shelf that would shock a few regarding composites.
2017 - Everything Old is New Again.
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. ~ by Thomas Alva Edison

Offline go4mars

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3752
  • Earth
  • Liked: 152
  • Likes Given: 3153
Re: 3D printer for space
« Reply #59 on: 11/27/2012 07:21 PM »
I've got designs put on the shelf that would shock a few regarding composites.
We're listening now!
Elasmotherium; hurlyburly Doggerlandic Jentilak steeds insouciantly gallop in viridescent taiga, eluding deluginal Burckle's abyssal excavation.

Tags: