Habitats for deep space missions



Nasa 3D Printing Competition to Help Design Habitats for Deep Space Missions

The US space agency has announced a new $2.25 million (roughly Rs. 14 crores) competition to design and build a 3D-printed habitat for deep space exploration, including Mars.

Along with the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (known as America Makes), Nasahas devised the multi-phase 3D Printed Habitat Challenge to advance the additive construction technology needed to create sustainable housing solutions for Earth and beyond.

It is part of Nasa’s Centennial Challenges programme.

“The future possibilities for 3D printing are inspiring and the technology is extremely important to deep space exploration,” said Sam Ortega, Centennial Challenges programme manager.

“This challenge definitely raises the bar from what we are currently capable of and we are excited to see what the maker community does with it,” he added in a Nasa statement.

In the first phase of the competition, participants are to develop state-of-the-art architectural concepts that take advantage of the unique capabilities 3D printing offers.

The top 30 submissions will be judged and a prize purse of $50,000 (roughly Rs. 31.5 lakhs) will be awarded at the 2015 World Maker Faire in New York.

The second phase of the competition is divided into two levels.

Level 1 focuses on the fabrication technologies needed to manufacture structural components from a combination of indigenous materials and recyclables, or indigenous materials alone.

Level 2 challenges competitors to fabricate full-scale habitats using indigenous materials or indigenous materials combined with recyclables.

Both levels carry a $1.1 million (roughly Rs. 7 crores) prize each.

Winning concepts and products will help Nasa build the technical expertise to send habitat-manufacturing machines to distant destinations, such as Mars, to build shelters for the human explorers who follow.

“We believe that 3D printing has the power to fundamentally change the way people approach design and construction for habitats, both on earth and off, and we are excitedly awaiting submissions from all types of competitors,” said Ralph Resnick, founding director of America Makes.




How is driving 3D printed car?

A while ago we brought you news of the world’s first 3D printed car….

Here’s what somebody who drove it had to say!



3D printing a car sounds pretty awesome, but it’s not half as cool as driving one.

Let me repeat: I drove a 3D printed car. It wasn’t for long, and it wasn’t far, but it was a singularly awesome experience.

The car, known as the Strati, is perhaps the world’s fully drivable, almost completely 3D printer-manufactured automobile. Local Motors used crowd-sourced design and a custom-built 3D printer to create the one-of-a-kind (for now) 3D printed car and assembled it over six days at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago, Illinois a few weeks ago.

The company brought the two-seater to New York on Tuesday and I took it for a tiny, yet memorable, test drive.

In person

Clad in a black-and-white leather racing jacket, perfectly worn jeans, and with chiseled features that would look equally at home in a race car or box of Wheaties (at one point I accidentally called him “Steve Rogers” – look it up), Local Motors CEO Jay Rogers greets me with a wide grin and a firm handshake. Behind him is the car.

The all-gray Strati is somewhat larger than I expected. It sits low to the ground like a race car and features just two custom leather seats. On parts of the body, you can clearly see the printed layers, in others, the Strati has been milled to smooth perfection. The body feels, well, like plastic, but also extremely solid. It has race-car lines, but also a custom-built quality. Rogers tells me that there are 227 printed layers in the chassis and the only limit was the 3D printer. Eventually, Local Motors expects to use larger 3D printers to print even bigger cars (can you say “3D-printed SUV?).

I notice that the printing on the fender is vertical instead of horizontal. Rogers explains that Local Motors decided to print the fenders separately. This way, if they’re damaged, you don’t have to replace (read reprint) the entire chassis, he adds.

Rogers gestures toward the interior of the car and points out the red leather seats, which he says Local Motors built and upholstered and noted that the ultimate goal is to provide a sort of fly net or weave-style seating that can be snapped into place on a pre-printed base. As we’re looking at the interior, I notice two compartments in front of the passenger seat. They were, Rogers says, printed as spots for storage — just like a real car. Strike that. This is a real car.

I take note of the large Bridgestone Battlax wheels, which turn out to be motorcycle tires. Then we walk around the back and Rogers unsnaps a vinyl flap to reveal a small Renault Twizy Motor. It sits behind a much larger 120 pound battery.

When it’s time to get inside the Strati 3D printed car, Rogers guides me. “Right leg first and turn your knee to the right to get it under the steering wheel.” I seem unable to turn my leg that way, so I lift my right leg and point my knee sharply to the left to squeeze it under the small steering wheel and dash. Rogers smiles and says, “That’ll work.”

Even though this is a printed car, it doesn’t give the impression of a kit or even cheaply made automobile. The leather-clad steering wheel feels solid in my hands. There’s a tiny dash display for speed and nestled to the left and somewhat behind the steering wheel is a set of three buttons with the letters DNR. D is drive, N is neutral and R is reverse. I note blinker controls on the wheel column, but not a lot else.

There’s room enough for my legs, though I can’t fully stretch them out. The seat does not move back or forward. I can’t quite see it, but my right foot finds the brake and acceleration peddles.

“Put your foot on the brake,” says Rogers, sounding a lot like my first driving instructor. “Now press the D button and then put your foot on the acceleration peddle.” I start to do this, but hesitate. There is no sound. I mean, literally, nothing coming from the Strati engine. Is this car even on?

At first, I press so lightly that the car doesn’t even move. Then, with still no sound, the car starts gliding forward.

The Local Motors 3D printed car can travel up to 50 miles per hour, but early models like this one, which will go on sale sometime in the next 12 months, are set to feature factory-limited motors and batteries so they can’t travel more than roughly 25 miles per hour. This will make them neighborhood safe, which also means there’s no requirement for many of the safety features you come to expect in most modern cars. So no seatbelts (at least that I could find) and no air bags. Rogers tells me that Local Motors plans to work on making the cars street legal and if you buy one next year for roughly $18,000 and an upgrade becomes available, they’ll simply take back the fully recyclable chassis and print you a new, delimited, 3D printed car that can reach 50 miles per hour.

In my short ride I barely went above 5 miles per hour, but I still noticed the ultra-smooth ride and relatively tight steering (there’s no power steering). You’re also very low to the ground. I could imagine that this is what it might feel like to cruise around New York City in a race car.

For the delicate maneuver of driving the Strati 3D printed car back into the transport trailer, Rogers takes over. I sit in the passenger seat and we mount the ramp and roll inside. Even that maneuver felt smooth as butter and, to be honest, oddly thrilling.

As Rogers and his crew finish securing the car inside the trailer, a small crowd gathers. People can tell there’s something different and special about this car. Rogers smiles and patiently answers questions from passersby. I watch and wonder if he’ll give me one more ride and if I could possibly borrow that awesome jacket.

by Lance Ulanoff | Oct 08, 2014

3D printed gadgets for iPhone 6

Only for iPhone 6 users!

New phones, new gear. We bring you 3D printed gadgets for the latest iPhone, including speakers and portable charging docks!


iPhone6 3200mah Charger with USB Power Out 3d printed Accessories Music

In light of Apple’s latest record-breaking smartphone, Malta 3D Printing has selected a number of useful printables to enhance the iPhone experience.

Early purchasers may have been left with a sour taste in their mouth due to some unforeseen problems, but our selection of unique products will help turn their frowns upside down.

This stylish iPhone 6 charger is sure to save your blushes in a sticky situation – remember that time you accidentally deserted your date, only because your iPhone ran out of battery? What about that time you got lost in the woods searching for your camping buddies?

This versatile gadget annihilates any chance of those awkward situations becoming reality.

Not only does it charge your iPhone faster than a regular charger, it also extends the battery life. Gone are the days when our trusty cellphone batteries would last a couple of days in the red zone. In 2014, low-battery means it’s time to panic!

Using Wi-Fi, 3G, or an application (practically any smartphone function) drains the battery like crazy.

Simply slot your brand new iPhone 6 or 6 Plus into the case and voila.

For the energy conscious customer, a solar-powered version is also available, helping you bring your electricity bill down.  The electronics required are simple to attach to the case, but a full-kit version with no assembly is also available.

If you’re looking for something simpler, this standard iPhone dock will do the job.

There’s nothing unique or special about it, but sometimes simplicity is all you need. On that note, 3D printing marketplaces are now jam-packed with different iPhone 6 cases. Some are quite stylish, like this steampunk case, and others quite basic.

While you’re still buzzing from the familiar smell of a freshly opened iPhone, savor the moment by blasting your favourite tunes. Should Apple’s sound hardware not provide you with the kick you needed, try a set of 3D printed enhancement speakers.

This model by Thingiverse user Datheus is sure to turn a quiet night in with friends into a thumping house party. All that’s required is for users to place their smartphones into the device and prepare for the onslaught of noise complaints.

iPhone users on the go will be tired of fumbling around whilst driving in search of their trusty smartphone – a recipe for disaster. Imagine dodging traffic as it rings away in your bag or pocket, only for you to have missed the call by the time you’ve fished it out.

Debuting on Thingiverse only two days ago, this simple case protects the iPhone and allows drivers to safely answer calls without too much attention diverted from the road.

It’s also been modified to accommodate for charging.

Only released a few weeks ago now, the list of 3D printable enhancement products for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus is still relatively small – but having smashed all previous iPhone and smartphone sales records, we can expect the list to grow quickly.
by  | 29 September 2014

Conductive filament?

Liquid plastic and graphene (a material used to transmit electrical signals) may soon become printable, meaning that we could print entire phones or tablets at a go. Check out the link for more!


While 3D printing is taking off it still suffers from low resolution that leaves visible join lines on objects and plastics limit what can be printed. That could be about to change after liquid plastic and graphene filament has been discovered meaning we could soon be printing conductive materials for an entire gadget like a phone in one go.

Stephen Mills started an Indiegogo campaign, which is current not live, aiming to fund this new filament. Currently extruder nozels need to melt plastic strips before the liquid comes out and cools hard. This new liquid means no need to melt as it’s sealed and reacts to air to harden.

This new method should mean far smaller nozels which are capable of printing much more accurately. The liquid plastic will be printed at higher resolutions meaning the finish is far smoothers, leaving the final product looking more like the smooth virtual model finish.

Beyond plastic Mills claims he has also cracked graphene printing. This is a big deal as it could mean a fast and cheap method for printing graphene. Graphene is able to transmit electric signals meaning 3D printing complete computers, processors and all, could be just around the corner.