We Can Now Use 3D Printers in Space

As 3D printers become the next piece of ‘must have’ kit, NASA decide to take one for a spin…in space.

NASA 3D Printing

Thus far, 3D printing has proved itself to be incredibly useful. While some have used the new technology to print jewellery, other examples include using it to print body parts and even using it to print food.

An ingenious manufacturing process, 3D printing could become a widely used, incredibly useful tool to print things speedily and cheaply. Because 3D printers are so small they remove the expenses required with large industrial machinery and they make it easier for people to make their own products and projects too.

So easy is it to use a 3D printer that we can now do it in space. Battling against anti-gravity conditions, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has found a way to let its astronauts put things together simply.

Not that they used your bog standard 3D printer, mind you. As mentioned, the anti-grav conditions of space would actually make it quite difficult for ordinary 3D printers to work which is why NASA commissioned the aptly titled Zero-G maker from a company called MadeInSpace in order to do the job.

Then, once Zero-G was ready to go, NASA sent the device up to the International Space Station (ISS) in a resupply mission at the end of September. And what was Zero-G’s first project? A part for its very own hardware.

Specifically, the part it made was a cover for all of its wires, innards and gubbins and is obviously quite important. It didn’t have much chance to make many of these though as after two weeks Zero-G was sent back down to Earth so that NASA could compare the 3D printer cover and the normal cover and see what the differences are.

NASA has yet to reveal if the first 3D printing in space was a success or not but theoretically it could be a big help to the astronauts on the ISS. They could 3D print foods, parts and other things needed to survive up in space meaning that not only will people be able to stay up in space for longer but it will give them more of a chance to research what’s out there too.

Source: TechCrunch

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