How 3D Printing in Space Could Revolutionize Manufacturing

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There's a new 3D printer onboard the ISS that could mark the beginning of “space-enabled manufacturing.” Here's what that future could look like.
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The International Space Station is arguably the most unique laboratory known to man, equipped with some of the most advanced equipment ever made! But perhaps its most exciting new piece of equipment?

A novel 3D printer that uses resin and light to create near perfect ceramic pieces in microgravity.

This machine, created by Made in Space, is the beginning of what’s being called “space-enabled manufacturing.


Read More:
Ceramics Manufacturing: Increasing Capability + Scaling Commercial Industry in Space

"Stereolithography or Digital Light Processing (DLP) is a mature, high-resolution 3D printing approach based on UV curing of liquid resins in a layer-by-layer fashion. Beyond a range of polymers, this method is also used for additive manufacturing of ceramics. To this end, ceramic particles are suspended in the liquid resin. MIS will print an advanced ceramic matrix composite (CMC) material that consists of a pre-ceramic resin reinforced with ceramic particles."

Stereolithography

"Stereolithography is a technique for layer by layer structure fabrication, where a laser beam is focused to a free surface of a photosensitive liquid to induce polymerization of the liquid in that region and transform it to a polymerized solid (Sun et al., 2005a)."

ARCHINAUT

"NASA’s exploration roadmap for Moon to Mars will employ new platforms like Gateway & Artemis that will benefit from in-space manufacturing capabilities. Building infrastructure off the planet without having to launch critical components is crucial when looking at these exploration goals. MIS is pioneering new capabilities in space that will reshape the design landscape for space missions. Combining additive manufacturing and robotic assembly to create space-optimized assets alters the future of mission architecture and satellite design."

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