Will 3D printing in space allow us to build new worlds?

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/will-3d-printing-space-allow-us-build-new-worlds/

Will 3D printing in space allow us to build new worlds?

So far, space travel is limited because we have to transport everything we need using rockets. But what if we could build whatever we needed? Jason Dunn, whose company built the first 3D printer to operate in space, shares his Brief but Spectacular take on the future of self-sufficiency in space travel.

TRANSCRIPT

GWEN IFILL: Now to our weekly feature Brief But Spectacular.

Tonight, we hear from Jason Dunn of Made In Space, a company based out of Singularity University, the California-based firm responsible for making the first 3-D printer to operate out of this world.

JASON DUNN, Made In Space: I think that, in our lifetime, everybody we know will have a chance to go to space.

It’s really hard to do space exploration today, because we are dependent on bringing everything on rockets from the surface of the planet. So, what we started working on was the idea of 3-D printing in space and in fact just building the things you need wherever you need it.

Today’s version of space exploration is like a camping trip. We bring everything we need with us, and, if something goes wrong, we go back home really quick or we call home and ask for some help.

So if we want to go live on Mars one day or go back to the moon and set up a base, we need to learn how to be self-sufficient in the way we explore space.

Figuring out how to make a 3-D printer work in zero gravity was one of the most difficult parts. We got to take our 3-D printers into an aircraft that flies acrobatic maneuvers in the sky. You get a little period of weightlessness and you actually float inside of the airplane.

Everything is falling into place that we can actually send people to Mars and to the moon and to the asteroids, that we can build entirely new worlds of our own like large space stations. And that’s really the vision, is that we have the entire universe at our disposal to go out and explore.

Growing up in Florida was — for me, it was a lot about exploration. I lived on the Gulf of Mexico. I had my own boat. I spent most of my days exploring mangrove swamps and estuaries and things like that.

Space is like the ocean that I grew up sitting on the edge of, and I feel like, as humanity, we’re on this — like, the surface of the planet, which is like the shore, and we’re ready to now finally go out and see what’s out in the ocean.

My name is Jason Dunn, and this is my Brief But Spectacular take on why our future will be made in space.

References:

pbs.org

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/will-3d-printing-space-allow-us-build-new-worlds/

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3D printed plane flies from Royal Navy ship

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-33656489

A 3D plane taking off from a Royal Navy ship

3D-printed plane flies from Royal Navy ship

A 3D-printed aircraft has been launched from a Royal Navy ship and landed safely on a Dorset beach.

The navy said the test flight from HMS Mersey demonstrated the potential use of small, unmanned aircraft at sea.

Cdr Bow Wheaton said the navy was “very interested” in possible uses of unmanned and highly automated systems.

Researchers behind the Southampton University Laser Sintered Aircraft said their “pioneering” techniques had advanced design thinking worldwide.

Prof Andy Keane, who leads the project along with Prof Jim Scanlan, said: “The key to increased use of unmanned aerial vehicles is the simple production of low-cost and rugged airframes.”

‘Fun doing it’

Prof Scanlan told the BBC the design process begins with “complex geometry” on a computer.

A laser beam is then used inside a printer to “sinter” thin layers of nylon powder – making a solid mass – and the process is repeated numerous times to build objects.

First Sea Lord Adm Sir George Zambellas said: “Radical advances in capability often start with small steps.

“The launch of a 3D-printed aircraft from HMS Mersey is a small glimpse into the innovation and forward thinking that is now embedded in our navy’s approach.”

He added: “We are after more and greater capability in this field, which delivers huge value for money. And, because it’s new technology, with young people behind it, we’re having fun doing it.”

Analysis

3D plane ready to be catapulted off HMS Mersey

Jonathan Beale, BBC defence correspondent

3D printing technology is already being used in the defence industry.

Last year an RAF Tornado flew with parts produced by a 3D printer for the first time – including protective covers for cockpit radios.

The technology has also been used to make guns.

The development of a drone using a 3D printer is another step forward.

In theory the technology could allow the military to build on site, whether that’s on a warship or at a forward operating base.

If a drone was shot down, they could just print another.

The armed forces would no longer be entirely dependent on a factory back home, or on fragile supply chains to ship spare parts or replacements out.

There is of course a big downside.

What happens when everyone else has access to the same technology?

The aircraft, which has a wingspan of 4ft (1.5m) and a cruising speed of 50 knots (60mph), first flew in 2011 and was the world’s first entirely printed aircraft.

It is assembled from four major parts, without the use of any tools, and can fly almost silently.

Its flight from HMS Mersey lasted less than five minutes – flying 1,600ft (500m) from Wyke Regis Training Facility in Weymouth and landing on Chesil Beach.

References:

bbc.com

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-33656489

3D printing capabilities and drones

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/drones-might-be-getting-smaller-3d-printing-technology-can-make-them-faster-lighter-1498237

Boeing and Sheffield University's 3D printed UAV

Drones might be getting smaller but 3D printing technology can make them faster and lighter

The past two years has seen the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) industry transform from being a military tool and a niche aerial hobbyist aircraft to a technology that has a wide number of commercial and consumer use cases.

This has come about due to the advent of much smaller UAVs, or rather drones that weigh less than 20kg, which has finally convinced authorities around the world that they are safe enough for widespread use.

However, although they are light, drones are about to get a lot lighter still as 3D printing technology is now being trialled to speed up prototyping and production, and the materials being developed are even better than those used in consumer and professional drone rigs today.

In the UK, aerospace and defence manufacturer Boeing is working with the University of Sheffield to research and develop complexly designed UAVs more cheaply using 3D printing, which is also known as additive manufacturing.

The engineers have succeeded in using Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM), a type of 3D printing technology, to print out all the components needed in a drone, including the catapult rig used to launch it into the air.

The drone consists of nine 3D printed thermoplastic parts that snap together. It features blended winglets and is powered by an electric ducted fan propulsion system incorporated into the airframe’s central spine.

“We’d like to use this kind of thing to show novel manufacturing methods. It’s still heavier than drones that use a foam wing, but the benefit is that you can quickly change it,” Dr Garth Nicholson, principal design engineer of Sheffield University’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing’s Design Prototyping and Testing Centre, told IBTimes UK at the SkyTech 2015 drone trade show in London.

“We envision that in a humanitarian situation with a number of pilots who could only bring a limited number of spare parts of them, they could have a 3D printer in the field to print parts, or replace and put in different sensors that they need at the time.

“The benefit would be that you could also quickly rip it up, dispose of it safely and produce a new completely new rig in less than 24 hours.”

Using CarbonSLS to build drones

Other companies, such as Buckinghamshire-based firm Graphite Additive Manufacturing is looking into Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), another 3D printing technology, in order to produce lighter drones.

Drone 3D printed from CarbonSLS

“We’ve developed a material called CarbonSLS which uses a nylon powder with added carbon fibre strands. It was developed for use in Formula One racing cars, so it’s strong and it’s light,” Keith Haynes, project manager of Graphite Additive Manufacturing, told IBTimes UK, also speaking at SkyTech 2015.

“By using CarbonSLS, we were able to save at least 25% in weight by replacing the frame of this quadcopter drone with a frame made from our material.

“It flew just as well as the original, but even easier to control as it’s moving less weight around.”

The firm was set up two years ago by Kevin Lambourne, who formerly worked for Red Bull Racing to provide 3D printed parts to build Formula One race cars, so the materials developed have had to be very tough.

Haynes said: “We’ve come from a motor sports background and it’s not something we planned to go into, but we’ve had so many requests from the military, aerospace companies and small drone businesses about using our material to build drones that we’re now actively promoting it.”

ibtimes.co.uk

by at SkyTech 2015 | April 24, 2015 18:16 BST

Impact of 3D printing on the Aerospace Industry

Follow the link below to see the potential impact of 3D printing on the Aerospace Industry. The sky’s the limit with these two combined! 🙂

http://3dprint.com/26081/3d-printing-aerospace-5-uses/

boeng

Like many industries, the aerospace industry is increasingly adopting 3D printing and rapid prototyping technologies to develop aircraft parts in the pursuit of trimming down manufacturing costs. As a matter of fact, one of the major players in the aerospace domain, Boeing, already makes use of 3D printing technology extensively and printed over 22,000 parts last year.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner apparently has 30 printed parts, which in itself is an industry record. Moreover, General Electric (GE) recently announced an investment of $50 million to 3D print fuel nozzles for the next-generation LEAP jet engine. The sudden inclination of aerospace industry towards additive manufacturing is mainly due to the possibility to achieve significant weight reduction. According to American Airlines, for every pound of weight removed from the aircraft, the company saves 11,000 gallons of fuel annually.

Vivek Saxena, VP of Aerospace Operations at technology consulting companyICF International, said that additive manufacturing currently accounts for as low as 0.0002% of the worldwide manufacturing market. More specifically in aerospace, this percentage is about 0.002% of the $150 billion aerospace parts market. However, many industry observers, like Saxena, forecast that the market for 3D printed parts in aerospace is expected to reach $2 billion within the next decade. With such an excessive proliferation of additive manufacturing/3D printing in aerospace industry, its potential applications in the future seem to be even more promising. Here are five most possible applications of additive manufacturing for aerospace that can be expected in near future.

Aircraft Wings

While smaller parts in aircraft are already being developed using 3D printing techniques, Boeing also envisions printing an entire airplane wing in the future. The present 3D printing techniques have limitations when it comes to printing large objects, as with the increase in dimensions there’s a possibility of building up of internal stresses, leading to distortion. However, a recent technique developed by BAE Systems involves making stronger metal parts by striking them repeatedly using ultrasonic tool as each layer gets printed. This allows relieving of the stresses from the part, thereby paving the way to print large objects such as aircraft wings.

Complex Engine Parts

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Apart from 3D printed nozzles, GE is also developing 3D printed parts for the GE9X engine, which is the world’s largest jet engine designed for the next generation Boeing 777X long haul passenger jet. The use of 3D printing is also expected to be useful in developing testing prototypes to check clearances, angles and tolerances without investing in CNC machining. Recently, Autodesk and Stratasys collaborated to develop a full scale model of the turbo-prop engine using 3D printing, demonstrating the future capabilities of 3D printing for developing jet engine parts.

On-Demand Parts in Space

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At present, NASA’s next space exploration vehicle consists of about 70 3D printed parts; yet, they are developed on the ground here on earth, which elongates the supply chain drastically. Printing parts on-demand directly in space would significantly reduce the cost and planning cycles required to send a rocket in space with necessary replacement and repair tools. 3D printing on-demand parts in space is what being currently investigated by groups like Made in Space and Lunar Buildings. In collaboration with NASA, Made in Space is conducting zero gravity tests to experiment 3D printing on the International Space Station, which would allow astronauts to print tools and parts when required.

Unmanned Aerial Systems

Recently, BAE Systems unveiled 2,040 aircraft engineering concepts incorporating on-board 3D printing to develop UAVs. The concept explains how an aircraft examines the disaster and reports to the mission control where the required engineering data is fed to the on-board printers to print unmanned aerial vehicles according to the requirements of the disaster scenario. Eventually, these 3D printed UAVs will perform rescue operations or monitor the situation. While this concept is still on the drawing board, BAE Systems has already invested ₤117m in research and development to ensure that these concepts can be turned into a reality.

3D Printing as a Service (3DPaaS)

NASA is looking ahead to explore 3D printing as a service for rapid pre-prototyping. “3D printing makes it easier to capture the imagination of the mission concepts. We can see what others are imagining,” said Tom Soderstrom, IT chief technology officer at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Using 3DPaaS, engineers could obtain peer reviews, alternative design concepts, and approval for final prototype. With open source design development, there will be a possibility to integrate multiple ideas from the outside, thereby reducing the build time considerably and also minimizing costs.

Discuss this story in the 3D Printing and Aerospace forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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by  | NOVEMBER 23, 2014