3D Printer In Zero-G Experiment (USA), 2013–14
Made in Space and NASA partnered to launch the “3D Printing in Zero-G Experiment” on September 23, 2014. Referred to as “the flying factory,” the goal is to demonstrate manufacturing capabilities in space and free astronauts from their reliance on Earth for basic equipment. Three-D printers use an additive extrusion-based process to build objects layer by layer out of polymers, composites, and other materials. The challenges of designing such a device for space are numerous: the printer must account for the movement, or “float,” of components during liftoff and in microgravity, survive vibrations and changes in pressure during launch, and be provided with adequate electrical power and ventilation. But with the help of this specially designed 3D printer, the current supply chain from Earth to space can be largely bypassed, allowing astronauts to create everything from common instruments to replacement parts.
It is credited
Courtesy of Made In Space, Inc. and NASA.
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Its dimensions are
H x W x D (3D Printer): 40 × 44.1 × 44.6 cm (15 3/4 × 17 3/8 × 17 9/16 in.)
A demonstration of the first 3D Printer to be used in space.
This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Tools: Extending Our Reach.