3D printing technology news

Grey Havoc

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Just came across this over on Slashdot:

http://www.fosterandpartners.com/News/492/Default.aspx

31/01/2013
Foster + Partners works with European Space Agency to 3D print structures on the moon


Foster + Partners is part of a consortium set up by the ESA to explore the possibilities of 3D printing to construct lunar habitations. Addressing the challenges of transporting materials to the moon, the study is investigating the use of lunar soil, known as regolith, as building matter.

The practice has designed a lunar base to house four people, which can offer protection from meteorites, gamma radiation and high temperature fluctuations. The base is first unfolded from a tubular module that can be transported by space rocket. An inflatable dome then extends from one end of this cylinder to provide a support structure for construction. Layers of regolith are then built up over the dome by a robot-operated 3D printer to create a protective shell.

To ensure strength while keeping the amount of binding “ink” to a minimum, the shell is made up of a hollow closed cellular structure similar to foam. The geometry of the structure was designed by Foster + Partners in collaboration with consortium partners – it is groundbreaking in demonstrating the potential of 3D printing to create structures that are close to natural biological systems.

Simulated lunar soil has been used to create a 1.5 tonne mockup and 3D printing tests have been undertaken at a smaller scale in a vacuum chamber to echo lunar conditions. The planned site for the base is at the moon’s southern pole, where there is near perpetual sunlight on the horizon.

The consortium includes Italian space engineering firm Alta SpA, working with Pisa-based engineering university Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna. Monolite UK supplied the D-Shape™ printer and developed a European source for lunar regolith stimulant, which has been used for printing all samples and demonstrators.

Xavier De Kestelier, Partner, Foster + Partners Specialist Modelling Group:
“As a practice, we are used to designing for extreme climates on earth and exploiting the environmental benefits of using local, sustainable materials – our lunar habitation follows a similar logic. It has been a fascinating and unique design process, which has been driven by the possibilities inherent in the material. We look forward to working with ESA and our consortium partners on future research projects.”

Links:
http://www.esa.int
http://www.esa.int/For_Media
 

blackstar

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3D printing is now the new magic space technology. It is showing up everywhere in space articles and startups now. Lots of people are making extravagant claims for it. They think that it makes everything possible in space. That misses a number of key points. For starters, it hasn't been proven in a space environment. And it also requires raw materials that will have to be either delivered (launched) or processed in situ.

Everybody likes to wave their magic wand, yell "Expecto petronas!" and assume that a 3D printer will simply build whatever they want wherever they want it.
 

blackstar

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Hobbes said:
it hasn't been proven in a space environment
If you read the article, you'll see that that's just what they're doing.
I did read it. Still hasn't been proven. Like so many things in spaceflight, people talk about proposed technologies in the past or current tense, as if they already exist and have already demonstrated their capabilities. Thus all you need to do is launch a payload powered by VASIMR atop a Falcon 9 Heavy and land it on Mars with the Red Dragon...

In the case of 3D printing I see both front end and back end issues--yes, you have to get the 3D printer to work, but many of these proposals assume that it's easy to get the raw materials. I've been to AIAA sessions where they discussed resource extraction at the Moon or Mars and it doesn't sound easy, but then I read stuff on the internets where people simply brush that aside. "All you have to do is mine the materials from the regolith..."
 

Hobbes

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Still hasn't been proven.

In order for a technology to be proven, somebody has to prove it. This is what ESA and Foster are doing, so IMO it's unfair to rag on them for talking about 3D printing.
 

blackstar

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I wasn't ragging them. I was expressing general frustration with the hype. Space enthusiasts and journalists who have no idea what TRL means.
 

Grey Havoc

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Some hype in this article as well: http://www.wired.com/design/2013/02/3-d-printing-on-the-moon/

However, from a 2011 link within the article:



USC Professors Behrokh Khoshnevis (Engineering), Anders Carlson (Architecture), Neil Leach (Architecture) and Madhu Thangavelu (Astronautics) have completed their first visualization for their NASA research grant into the potential use of Contour Crafting robotic fabrication technology to build structures on the Moon. The image here shows a storage space being constructed by a Contour Crafting robot housed on a version of the Athlete rover developed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. The robot prints the structure layer by layer using lunar concrete composed of regolith from the surface of the Moon. Contour Crafting was invented originally for use on earth by Behrokh Khoshnevis at USC, whose alumni include Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the Moon. It was recently voted one of the top 15 innovations most likely to change the World. The question now being addressed is how it will change the Moon. [Visualization by Behnaz Farahi and Connor Wingfield.]
 

OM

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blackstar said:
I wasn't ragging them. I was expressing general frustration with the hype. Space enthusiasts and journalists who have no idea what TRL means.

...The two issues I don't see being resolved in this study are:


1) Much of how 3D printing works has been developed and tested based on the "bath", "goop" or "powder" is layered under 1G conditions. Back when the "green liquid/gel meets laser" method was king - circa 1994-1995 or thereabouts - the engineers in the proto fab labs locally were doing some back-of-the-barnap number crunching during a tech fair luncheon, and they figured that if you thickened the gel, this method would work fairly well in 1/6G. But a couple of the ME guys were claiming that the powder method would produce solids with a more "gossamer", weaker structure to them because there was less weight to hold one layer down on top of the next as it was being created. There was some issue of settling that was required for a sturdier structure. The current inkjet "goop" process that appears to be the defacto standard for low to middle-end 3D printers would most likely suffer from the same problems.


...The only way to know for certain would be to actually conduct tests on, say, a MakeBot 3D printer in the worst case scenario, sending one up on a Dragon and having it reproduce itself, then leaving the replicant on ISS for them to conduct their own tests with - probably to produce temporary replacement solids until the actual uberoverpriced replacements can be sent up on the next Dragon/Soyuz.


2) It also doesn't address the most important element of any printer, regardless of substance being used to print with: will this wind up being a case of where it's cheaper to send up another Lunar Printer Module when the cartridges run out, or will NASA be locked into a contract where they have to purchase factory issued refills that cost more than a new LPM? :p :p :p :p :p


"Hewlett-Packard starts their own space program. Film at 11."
 

Grey Havoc

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On a somewhat related note: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/02/tiny-3d-printed-spaceship/
 

blackstar

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My 3D printing study finally seems to be going forward (hopefully having squeeked past sequestration), so maybe in a year or so I'll be an expert!
 

OM

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blackstar said:
My 3D printing study finally seems to be going forward (hopefully having squeeked past sequestration), so maybe in a year or so I'll be an expert!

...Care to share with us what printer you've been looking at and/or working with?
 

sienar

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Foster+Partners as in Lord Norman Foster?


One can hope that his great WTC design may breath again, even if on the vacuum of the moon. Its too good to be left unbuilt (although the Chinese made a knowckoff :( )


Sorry if this is too off topic.
 

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Rhinocrates

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Not that far off topic, I would think - Foster is perhaps the architect with the greatest appreciation of aerospace technology and engineering, making real as opposed to cosmetic use of it in his firm's designs. He's a qualified pilot, was a protege of Buckminster Fuller and once said that the greatest example of twentieth century architecture was the Boeing 747.

The Hangar Terminal Facility at Spaceport America is a Foster + Partners project.

The Wiki article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Foster


And the "Gherkin" has received this inevitable parody...
 

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blackstar

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Finally got our funding from the USAF. We'll be kicking off our 3D printing in space study soon. NASA is flying a printer on ISS next year.
 

Grey Havoc

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On a related note, there is the SpiderFab robot: http://www.dvice.com/2013-8-30/nasa-wants-build-giant-spacecraft-3d-printing-spiders
 

OM

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Grey Havoc said:

...Ah. Is *this* the "sekret projekt" that Blackstar's been hinting about recently? It should be interesting to see how well this concept works, as some 3D printing techniques actually -need- the pull of gravity to keep things in place as each layer is squirted/sprayed on. At the same time, I'm also pretty curious as to what sort of resin/composite is going to be used, and how that material compares to any similar sample materials that were flown on LDEF. IIRC, some "plastigoop"-like materials tend to dissolve after an unacceptably short time exposed to vacuum and those nasty solar wind particles.
 

robunos

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Could we merge this with

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,18323.msg175585.html#msg175585

please?

cheers,
Robin.
 

blackstar

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3D printing has been in the news a bit this past week, although they are all variations on the same story.

Amaze project aims to take 3D printing 'into metal age'
The European Space Agency has unveiled plans to "take 3D printing into the metal age" by building parts for jets, spacecraft and fusion projects.http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24528306

AMAZING FUTURE
A metal 3D-printing revolution is entering space. AMAZE is a recently announced project that aims to perfect the printing of space-quality metal components on Earth and beyond within five years. 3D printing builds a solid object from a series of layers, each one printed on top of the last. This ‘additive manufacturing’ technique produces very complex structures with minimal waste and maximum flexibility. http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_Spaceflight/Highlights/Amazing_future

3D PRINTING FOR SPACE: THE ADDITIVE REVOLUTION

3D printing is getting ready to revolutionise space travel. ESA is paving the way for 3D-printed metals to build high-quality, intricate shapes with massive cost savings.
http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_Spaceflight/Research/3D_printing_for_space_the_additive_revolution
 

OM

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...One interesting use I'm already hearing for this 3D Metal process is a new way of applying aluminum siding to a house. One particular variation calls for the house to not be painted at all, but simply sealcoated with the Al print. Would be interesting to see a long-term environmental wear-n-tear study, especially in areas where the humidity is generally high, or termites tend to be somewhat in abundance.
 

johnstevenjacob

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I knew it. 3D printing technology is great for Science. Aside from using it in building on the moon, it can be great for medical use as well. This skull is a very good example, http://www.3d2print.net/shop/blog/cool/heads-need-new-skull/. Medical practitioners can use this for training.
 

bobbymike

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3D? MEH 4D!!

http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=1448

;D
 

bobbymike

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http://www.popsci.com/article/technology/us-army-contemplates-3d-printed-warheads
 

bobbymike

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http://www.popsci.com/article/science/welcome-mars-heres-where-youll-be-staying
 

bobbymike

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This tech is advancing incredibly fast;

http://video.lauraingraham.com/-26801147#.VBc2ssJ0ysc
 

bobbymike

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2014/12/17/meet-derby-the-dog-who-runs-on-3-d-printed-legs/?Post+generic=%3Ftid%3Dsm_twitter_washingtonpost
 

bobbymike

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http://www.technologyreview.com/news/534726/additive-manufacturing-is-reshaping-aviation/
 

Grey Havoc

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Grey Havoc said:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/11413503/Soldiers-could-have-their-bones-copied-and-3D-printed-in-case-of-injury.html

A bit hyped, but interesting nonetheless.
 

fredymac

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I didn't spot this video in the previous contributions. This technology generates net shape parts that require significant finish machining so it is a bit different. On the other hand, it works with metals that are used for high load/heat environments. The sponsor list at the back end ties the work directly to defense/aerospace.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A10XEZvkgbY
 

GTX

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Speaking from direct experience, this is definitely for aerospace applications (and is being used) - its key advantage over many of the other techniques is that is can handle bigger parts.
 

bobbymike

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http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/health/a14528/the-chemistry-3d-printer-can-craft-rare-medicinal-molecules-from-scratch/
 

fredymac

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A new wrinkle in 3D printing where continuous laser polymerization of resin is modulated by inhibiting the reaction with Oxygen. The result is 100x faster part production. The company is still in start up phase but is attracting lots of venture capital and may become one of the big players in the field.

http://carbon3d.com/
 

bobbymike

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http://spacenews.com/lockheed-leaning-on-3-d-printing-to-bring-tank-work-in-house/

Printing titanium fuel tanks for satellites
 

bobbymike

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Really cool story they 3D print an image of a blind women's unborn child so she can 'feel' what he looks like.

http://trendingstylist.com/blind-mom-goes-in-for-an-ultrasound-now-watch-what-the-doctor-does-im-crying/
 

bobbymike

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http://www.popularmechanics.com/flight/a15491/mini-3d-printed-jet-engine/
 

Dragon029

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I wonder whether it outperforms a JetCat? Could be Yves Rossy'snext step in increasing his T:W.
 

bobbymike

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http://nextbigfuture.com/2015/08/raytheon-3d-prints-80-percent-of-guided.html
 
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