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3D Printing in the Stars


NASA and European Space Agencies are proving to the masses that Aerospace and 3D Printing are made for each other. Sculpteo asked its folks what’s their favorite story about Aerospace 3D Printing. Below are the top favorites!

Portland-State-space-espresso_cups-First espresso drinked in a 3D-printed cup in the ISS

First espresso drinked in a 3D-printed cup in the ISS

International Space Station is the perfect spot to drink an espresso and watch our little blue planet… once you solved 2 problems: how to make a good espresso in space and how keep the liquid into a cup? The italian space agency, in collaboration with Lavazza and Argotec, created the ISSpresso machine, that is able to produce a tasty espresso in a place with zero-gravity. The precious liquid get out of the ISSpresso in a pouch and astronauts are using a straw to drink it (you can check this funny video in italian to see how they taste their non-gravitationnal coffee at ISS). The Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science at Portland State University  designed the perfect cup for this situation: the Zero-G espresso cups.

 The espresso cup is designed to replace the role gravity plays in drinking with the combined effects of wetting, surface tension, and the specifically-calculated contour in the vessel to exploit capillary forces. A patent application for the cup design is on file crediting Mark Weislogel a professor of mechanical engineering and head of the Capillary Fluidics Group at PSU, Ryan Jenson MSME ’08, PhD student Andrew Wollman, and NASA astronaut Don Pettit. Due to the complexity of the 3D model, 3D printing the cups was the best solution. The ISSpresso machine and the 3D printed Zero-G cups are on board of the ISS since April. We haven’t found any information on how they clean the cups yet…
NASA 3D model repository

The NASA regularly release on their website 3D models linked to their space mission and the data collected. “About 1 year ago, they started to release 3D printable files and now they have a complete repository with more than 50 models!” says our space-fan. Detailed surface of Mars or the moon, asteroid, satellites and incredible hurricane models are available in STL file format and can be downloaded for free on the NASA website.  Holding the 3D printed Vesta asteroid in your hands is a special learning experience and a convenient way to understand the last scientific findings.


Reboot the Suit campaign

The Smithsonian in collaboration with Kickstarter has raised over $550,000 to preserve Astronaut Neil Armstrong’s space suit from the famous Apollo 11 mission in 1969. The suit is being digitized using medical CT scanning technology to map all of the layers, and then special tools used in film making will capture the colors of the suit. The Smithsonian plansto make the high quality 3D Model of the suit available to the public for 3D Printing.“Finally the look but don’t touch rule is gone; now you can hold a piece of history in the palm of your hand!”


Clement likes the Rosetta 3D Printing for Philae mission

It’s not a new story, but Clement is attached to the 3D Print of Chury comet that Sculpteo has made for Rosetta’s comet mission. “Our 3D-print helped CNES (the French space agency) engineers to plan the landing of a satellite on Chury comet, and it still remains for me an achievment for Sculpteo.Helping and accelerating decision process is a major promise of 3D printing, and we thrive ourselves to make it true for our clients everyday!” If you would like to read how 3D printing helped the comet mission to take decision, we invite you to read the Rosetta’s mission story.

How about you? What’s your favorite Aerospace 3D Printing story? Share with us your picks!

Source: http://www.sculpteo.com/