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/

Advertisements

3D printing is about to change the world forever

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ricksmith/2015/06/15/3d-printing-is-about-to-change-the-world-forever/

3D Printing Is About To Change The World Forever

I believe, along with a growing number of leaders around the world, that 3D printing will change the way things are produced more in this century than the industrial revolution did over the last 300 years.

Consider these two recent events:

A little over a year ago, a young Indonesian man named Arie Kurniawan participated in an open innovation challenge hosted by the global industrial company GE. The goal was to redesign the bracket that attaches a jet engine to an airplane wing. Arie’s design beat out over 1,000 other submissions, which was surprising to almost everyone. For one, Arie had absolutely no experience whatsoever with industrial manufacturing. None. Secondly, he had used a completely new design technique enabled by industrial 3D printing technology. But Aries’s bracket worked perfectly. It passed every one of the rigorous end use industrial tests for durability, stress and reliability.

And it weighed 83% less than the part it replaced.

At about the same time, halfway around the world, GE’s radical new fuel injection system for a jet engine first emerged from a industrial 3D metal printer. The previous system had 21 separate parts, which needed to be produced, shipped to the same location, and then assembled. The new 3D printed system had only one. It was five times stronger, and contributed to an increase in fuel efficiency of an astonishing 15%! That a savings of over $1 million dollars per year on fuel. On every single airplane that uses the new system.

Reports of these two startling events quickly spread throughout GE and beyond. While certainly no one expected these single parts to have an immediate impact on the company’s overall financial performance, the implications of these two events were disarmingly clear.

  • If 3D printing enabled individual parts to be redesigned with such massive improvements in efficiency, what possibilities existed for the companies’ other millions of parts?
  • If someone with no training in industrial production could so impact a company stocked with top engineers, what were the implications for the current global workforce?
  • If the new technology could reduce 21 component parts to one, what did this mean for the future of GE’s longstanding parts producers?
  • If these parts could now be cost effectively produced in the United States, what did this mean for the global supply chain?

Even bigger, what if these new technologies could be used to redesign not only a few parts, but an entire airplane?  Could we envision reducing the entire weight of a plane by 5%, 10%, even 20%?  An outcome like this would not simply result in a financial uplift for companies like GE—it would change the economics of an entire industry!

In fact, it would change every industry.

forbes.com

by Rick Smith | JUN 15, 2015 @ 2:05 PM