Archive for the ‘3D Printing’ Category

When International Space Station commander Barry Wilmore needed a wrench, Nasa knew just what to do. They “emailed” him one. This is the first time an object has been designed on Earth and then transmitted to space for manufacture.

Made In Space, the California company that designed the 3D printer aboard the ISS, overheard Wilmore mentioning the need for a ratcheting socket wrench and decided to create one. Previously, if an astronaut needed a specific tool it would have to be flown up on the next mission to the ISS, which could take months.

This isn’t the first 3D printed object made in space, but it is the first created to meet the needs of an astronaut. In November astronauts aboard the ISS printed a replacement part for the recently installed 3D printer. A total of 21 objects have now been printed in space, all of which will be brought back to Earth for testing.

“We will use them to characterise the effects of long-term microgravity on our 3D-printing process, so that we can model and predict the performance of objects that we manufacture in space in the future,” explained Mike Chen from Made in Space.

Chen also explained the process of sending hardware to space. First, the part is designed by Made In Space in CAD software and converted into a file-format for the 3D printer. This file is then sent to Nasa before being transmitted to the ISS. In space the 3D printer receives the code and starts manufacturing.

“On the ISS this type of technology translates to lower costs for experiments, faster design iteration, and a safer, better experience for the crew members, who can use it to replace broken parts or create new tools on demand,” Chen said.

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-12/19/3d-printed-space-wrench

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Delicious Uncle Sam’s Meal Cubes are laser-sintered from granulated mealworms; part of this healthy breakfast.
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NASA is funding research into 3D printed food which would provide astronauts with meals during long space flights. The futuristic food printers would use cartridges of powder and oils which would have a shelf life of 30 years.

While the idea may seem like something out of a Sci-Fi movie, the process of printing food has already been proven possible. The brains behind the innovation, Anjan Contractor, previously printed chocolate in a bid to prove his concept.

Contractor and his company, Systems & Materials Research Corporation, will now use NASA’s $125,000 grant to attempt to print a pizza. The grant was applied for on March 28, 2013. The pizza printer is still in the conceptual stage, and will begin to be built in two weeks.

The printer will first print a layer of dough, which will be cooked while being printed. Tomato powder will then be mixed with water and oil to print a tomato sauce. The topping for the pizza will be a “protein layer” which could come from any source – animals, milk, or plants.

The concept is to use basic “building blocks” of food in replaceable powder cartridges. Each block will be combined to create a range of foods which can be created by the printer. The cartridges will have a shelf life of 30 years – more than long enough to enable long-distance space travel.

Contractor and his team hope the 3D printer will be used not only by NASA, but also by regular Earthlings. His vision would mean the end of food waste, due to the powder’s long shelf life.

“I think, and many economists think, that current food systems can’t supply 12 billion people sufficiently, ” he said, as quoted by Quartz.

“So we eventually have to change our perception of what we see as food.” There are some conveniences which would come along with the printer. For example, recipes could be traded with others through software. Each recipe would have a set of instructions which tells the printer which cartridge of powder to mix with which liquids, and at what rate and how it should be sprayed.

Another perk includes personalized nutrition.

“If you’re male, female, someone is sick—they all have different dietary needs. If you can program your needs into a 3D printer, it can print exactly the nutrients that person requires,” Contractor said.

Contractor plans on keeping the software portion of his 3D printer entirely open-source, so that anyone can look at its code. He believes this will allow people to find creative uses for the hardware.

http://rt.com/usa/nasa-3d-pizza-printer-590/

 

Imagine this…What if you went to a photo booth in a mall or a movie theater and you put in a dollar, pulled the curtain, and sat down to get your photo taken by the machine. What if instead of spitting out the usual black and white strip of four or five photos, it dispensed a small mini-me figure of you.   This actually exists (except it costs more than a dollar right now). The world’s first 3D printing photo booth is taking reservations. People will soon be making history by having their photo taken this way in Japan from now until mid-January. You can read World’s First 3D Printing Photo Booth To Open In Japan to get more details. If more than one person gets in the photo booth, it will create more than one figure. The cost right now is between $260 – $530 for each figure depending on what size you want it to create.

http://www.bitrebels.com/technology/worlds-first-3d-printing-photo-booth/