8/5/2011

Manufacturing in Space

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An additive manufacturing process was recently tested in zero-gravity conditions in an effort to develop solutions for manufacturing in outer space. One thing about additive processes—they don’t create loose chips!

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A job shop in outer space might look like this.
 
3D Systems Corp. reports that its Bits From Bytes 3D printer successfully completed two zero-gravity test flights in partnership with Made In Space, a start-up company dedicated to providing solutions for manufacturing in outer space.
 
An additive manufacturing process has advantages, the test sponsors say. The 3D printing used in this experiment, for example, extrudes a melted material from a nozzle to build up a 3D shape. No loose powders or granules are involved; no loose chips or swarf are produced.
 

“3D printing and in-space manufacturing will dramatically change the way we look at space exploration, commercialization and mission design today,” says Aaron Kemmer, CEO and co-founder of Made In Space. “The possibilities range from building on-demand parts for human missions to building large space habitats that are optimized for space.” 

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