The next 3D printing revolution in space

The European Space Agency has stated that 3D printing a moon base is possible within the next 40 years, and is looking into developing the project, which is still in its planning phase, further.

3D Printing: one of the first exported skills from Earth! 🙂

http://rt.com/news/203643-moon-base-3d-printer/

A possible image of a base on the moon (Image from www.esa.int)

he European Space Agency (ESA) has proven that its project to 3D-print a base on the Moon is possible. In a latest video the agency shows how 3D-printing robots may be used to build the base using lunar material.
The ESA started investigation of the lunar base possibility in 2013, working alongside its industrial and architectural partners. The creation of the reliable semi-spherical structures on the surface of the moon could be fulfilled within the next 40 years, and 90 percent of the materials needed would be derived from the moon itself.

The latest details of the new concept, which is, however, still “firmly on the drawing board,” were discussed at a conference this week at ESA’s technical center in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.

“3D printing offers a potential means of facilitating lunar settlement with reduced logistics from Earth,” Scott Hovland, of ESA’s human spaceflight team, said in a statement.

“The new possibilities this work opens up can then be considered by international space agencies as part of the current development of a common exploration strategy,” he said.

An inner view of a human settlement on the moon (Still from YouTube video/European Space Agency)

As planned, the location of the settlement would be at the “peak of eternal light” – that is, along the rim of the Shackleton Crater on the south pole of the moon. This location was also chosen previously by NASA for its intended human settlement base, as it would mean near-constant solar power.

A 3D-printing robot (Still from YouTube video/European Space Agency)

The structure of a living pod would be formed by the habitation capsule and a dome, which would be covered by a protective shell made of lunar dust “cement” by two 3D-printing robots. It will be vital to protect people – up to four astronauts would become the first moon settlers – from radiation, meteoroids and temperature jumps – functions that on Earth are carried out by the atmosphere.

A living pod is protected by a concrete layer made of moon dust (Still from YouTube video/European Space Agency)

The moonbase plans are by no means the first attempt to apply 3D-printing to space technologies. This September, the International Space Station welcomed a high-tech 3D printer, aimed at creating tools and supplies for astronauts.

References:

3D printed hands

Adding a superhero’s touch to prosthetic hands 🙂

http://techcrunch.com/…/3d-printed-hands-just-got-better-t…/

What could be better than giving disabled kids a new pair of hands? How about slapping a set of claws on those hands!

Aaron Brown, a maker and volunteer for the group Enabling The Future, has been building 3D printed prosthetic hands for kids who are missing fingers. These hands are given away for free and the group has made countless children quite happy.

Now they can be happier. Brown built a set of Wolverine claws that are compatible with the free prosthetic hand plans available on Thingiverse.

“The Comic loving nerd inside of me (along with some Facebook friends) said there is no way I can make a Wolverine hand without CLAWS…so I modeled some in Sketchup the morning before the makerfaire, printed ‘em, spray painted ‘em silver and velcro’d ‘em on there. Turned out pretty darn cool!” said Brown.

“I worked for about 7 years in nightclub security, with a few less exciting factory jobs before that.
Playing around with technology has always been a passion and hobby on the side and when my grandfather passed away unexpectedly last year, I was left with a small amount of funds in his will – just enough to start building my own business,” he said. Now he is working on a small 3D print shop and has been building Wolverine-themed hands for kids since he showed the first hand at the Grand Rapids Maker Faire.

It’s great to see 3D printing become truly useful and it’s even more exciting to see folks who can move from part-time nightclub bouncer to full time maker with a little time and effort.

TECHCRUNCH.COM
by  | Sep 6, 2014

3D printing revolutionizing electronics

Another leap forward in the 3D printing of electronics: 3D printing of graphene batteries!!!

If perfected, this technology could shrink the physical size of batteries, leading to new and exciting design possibilities for electronic equipment of all kinds! 🙂

http://3dprint.com/13788/3d-printed-graphene-batteries/

graph-feat

One of the more common questions I hear, from those just beginning to find an interest in the 3D printing space, goes something like this: “When will we be able to 3D print a smartphone?”

Although such a thought brings up ideas and visions written about in popular science fiction novels, more than likely over the next couple of decades such a feat will in fact be plausible. The rate of advancement we are seeing within the 3D printing space is astonishing, to put it mildly. Every day new breakthroughs are being achieved, and ideas which seemed impossible only a few short years ago are becoming commonplace.

There has already been several successful attempts at 3D printing electronic components and circuitry, and progress is being made in the area of multimaterial printing. One area which will need to advance before we see complex portable electronics being fabricate through additive manufacturing, is that of battery manufacturing. The 3D printing of a battery isn’t a new concept.

There have been attempts and mild successes in the past, however, one company may be on the verge of a breakthrough.

graph-2

Yesterday, Graphene 3D Lab Inc.announced that they have filed a provisional patent application related to 3D printable batteries, with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The batteries, which are based on the super material known as graphene, a single layer of carbon atoms, could outperform even some of the best energy storage devices on the market today, according to the company.

“The application filed by Graphene 3D has the potential to play an important role in achieving the ability to print electronic devices due to the necessity of providing a power source,” stated Daniel Stolyarov, CEO of Graphene 3D. “Expanding our IP portfolio in this area is an important step in keeping with Graphene 3D’s primary goal of creating an ecosystem for 3D printing functional devices with advanced materials.”

The Vancouver based company, which is a spinout from Graphene Laboratories, Inc, focuses their efforts on the development and manufacturing of materials for 3D printing which have been enhanced with graphene. They are not alone in trying to merge the areas of additive manufacturing with that of graphene. In fact, there are several companies who are actively working on 3D printer filaments which are infused with super material, as well as other applications for the graphene within the 3D printing space. A 3D printed graphene based battery, however, could be even a bigger game changer for several industries. The ability to 3D print a battery allows for custom shapes to be introduced into the world of electronics where companies are trying to cram as many components into the smallest space possible.

“A 3D printed battery can be incorporated into a 3D printed object during the building process,” explained Stolyarov. “In addition, 3D printed batteries have several advantages over traditional batteries. Their shape, size and specifications can be freely adjusted to fit the particular design of the device. Our batteries are based on graphene and can potentially outperform conventional batteries. Graphene 3D plans to perform live demonstrations of our 3D printed batteries.”

It will be interesting to see how far along the company is, and just what they have achieved. The date of such a demonstration has yet to be announced. Let’s hear your thoughts on this possible game changing application for 3D printing in the 3D printed battery forum thread on 3DPB.com.

3DPRINT.COM
by  | SEPTEMBER 3, 2014