Will 3D printing in space allow us to 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.


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.




3D printed villas and Earth like planets


Inhabitat's Week in Green

Inhabitat’s Week in Green: 3D-printed villas and Earth-like planets

Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week’s most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us — it’s the Week in Green.

NASA dropped a bombshell this past week: The Kepler Space Telescope has discovered the most Earth-like planet to date. The rocky planet is slightly larger and warmer than our world, but it orbits a star and has the right conditions for liquid water. Meanwhile, the search for alien life goes on — and Stephen Hawking gave his support to a $100 million project seeking to find out if we’re alone in the universe. Exploring distant worlds is a challenging endeavor — last week NASA proposed a novel robotic spacecraft that could harvest wind energy while surveying gas giants like Jupiter. And the Smithsonian Institution launched a Kickstarter to save Neil Armstrong’s moon landing space suit, which is starting to fall apart after years of storage.

What if you could point a gadget at an apple and instantly know how much sugar it contained? That’s the promise of SCiO, a tiny hand-held device that can measure the molecular footprint of virtually any object. In other tech news, designer Kristof Retezár created an amazing gadget that harvests water from the air while you ride your bike so you don’t have to stop for fill-ups. MIT researchers demonstrated a water filter made from a tree branch that can remove 99 percent of E.coli bacteria. And researchers developed a 3D-printed bottle cap that can tell you if the milk’s gone bad before you take a sip.

3D printing is also progressing on the macro scale — last week a Chinese company showed just how far 3D-printed architecture has come by assembling an entire villa in less than three hours. If you’re looking for something even more futuristic, we present you with the Skysphere — a solar-powered home in the clouds that responds to the sound of your voice. City dwellers will swoon at this tiny apartment that packs an entire two-bedroom house into a single space. The secret? A hidden bed that drops down from the ceiling. And just for fun, we showcased the work of Nathan Sawaya, who makes incredible large-scale Lego sculptures of comic heroes and villains.



by Inhabitat  | July 26th 2015 At 10:00am


Influence of 3D Printing to environment

How 3D Printing is helping to save the environment

Besides the usage of biodegradable materials such as PLA, 3D printing is paving the way for the future of environmental sustainability. Below you can find 3 prime examples of how it’s already impacting societies worldwide.



3D printing tech has opened doors in a lot of areas – including sustainability. Take a look at the efforts of some groups to 3D print a greener planet.

Give someone a 3D printer, and she’ll make something cool; teach someone to use a 3D printer for sustainability, and she might change the world.

We’ve seen a variety of 3D-printed projects spring up over the last two years — from medical splints to houses to guns — and most fanatics will gladly argue that it’s only the beginning of a revolutionary distribution movement.

Ideally, 3D printing itself is a largely sustainable concept — but a few projects, which we’ve highlighted below, take it to a whole different level.

1. Protoprint

Protoprint was founded in early 2013 by Sidhant Pai, an environmental engineering student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In the summer of 2012, Pai had been researching low-cost recycling technology around the same time his father began dabbling in 3D printing as a hobby.

“[I realized] that 3D printer filament” — the plastic, coil-like material used to mold 3D-printed creations — “was basic in its chemical composition. So, we started looking into whether it was possible to recycle the filament from waste plastic,” he says.

It was. After a brief research period, Pai partnered with Pune, India-based cooperative SWaCH, which employs “pickers” to sort through the city’s waste bins for plastic bottles. They developed a system: After the pickers collect the bottles, workers wash and run them through a FlakerBot shredding machine, and then melt the plastic and spool it into reels of filament.

“This really bridges the gap between cutting-edge technology and grassroots recycling,” Pai says.

The group is in its final stages of its pilot launch, and plans to begin commercial production by the end of the summer.

2. Amsterdam’s Canal House

The 3D Print Canal House project, based in Amsterdam, claims to be constructing the world’s first 3D-printed house.

Dus Architects announced the idea in 2013. The firm will print out blocks of plastic, using a specialized printer called the Kamermaker, and stack them together like Legos to build the 13-story canal-style complex.

The idea is to eliminate both waste and the cost of transporting typical material needed for building, like lumber, steel and cement. As of now, the printer runs on bioplastics, but has the capacity to melt anything that will mold at a low temperature. Similar to Protoprint, Dus Architects is considering using recycled materials — even wood pallets and natural stone waste.

According to the Guardian, the group began construction on the house at the end of March. But the project’s website says the ordeal will likely take up to three years to complete. For now, anyone can take a tour of the physical site, for a small fee.


WASP is a team of Italian-based 3D printer enthusiasts who also have their eyes on the housing market.

The group is most well-known for the PowerWasp, a 3D printer that’s able to use clay as filament, while also doubling as a milling machine. Founder Massimo Moretti hopes to use his machines to create cheap, affordable housing in poor areas of the world. That kind of machine is still in development — but in the meantime, his team is self-funding its research by selling the PowerWasp at low costs to aspiring entrepreneurs in lower income areas.

For their efforts, the group won the Green Award at last year’s 3D Printshow in London.

BONUS: I 3D Printed a Gun