3D printing is the process of making three-dimensional objects from a digital file. (3dprinting, 2018).
In 3D printing, an object is created by layering down thin layers of material until the object is created (3dprinting, 2018). 3D printing enables you to produce functional shapes using less material (3dprinting, 2018).
In space, 3D printing is useful for space technology and could become a major aspect of space travels in the future (Gaget, 2017).
In 2013, Nasa and a Texas company told us they will try to produce food with a 3d printer (Nasa, 2013). During long missions, a variety of food is critical to ensure crew members continue to eat adequate amounts of food and get the nutrients they need to maintain their health and performance. (Nasa, 2013).
3D printing is very interesting when it comes to the astronomy field (Gaget, 2017).
What is 3D Printing in Space
Presentation Of 3d Food Printer. [Photograph]. Retrieved from Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest
Types of 3D printing in Space
There are two benefits of 3D printing in space, inside the aircraft and in orbit (Gagnet, 2017).
Inside of the station, it would help astronauts with their with their daily lives in space. If there was a missing piece to something the astronauts needed to build, they could easily just print instead of us sending them the materials they need because that would take a long time (Gagnet, 2017).
Having a 3D printer outside in orbit, we could create nanosatellites (Gagnet, 2017).
A nanosatellite is a satellite that is the size of a shoe box but can do the same thing a normal satellite can do (Singh, 2016). Nanosatellites can also create 3D objects in space (Gagnet, 2017).
Scientist using 3d printer. [Photograph]. Retrieved from Encyclopædia Britannica
Process of building a 3D printer. Retrieved from NASA
3D printing in space has many advantages.
With little material, a blueprint and a 3d printer, one can print any design no matter how complex it might be which is the best part (Inktonerstore, 2018).
Another advantage of 3D printers is now astronauts can make edible food from it (Nasa, 2013).
In 2013, Nasa and a Texas company told us they will try to produce food with a 3d printer (Nasa, 2013).
During long missions, a variety of food is critical to ensure crew members continue to eat adequate amounts of food and get the nutrients they need to maintain their health and performance. (Nasa, 2013).
A 3D printer may seem perfect, but there are some disadvantages that come with the machine.
3D printers are very slow (3dinsider, 2018). Depending on the printer’s size and quality, it can take several hours to days to print, the more the work involved with product development, the slower the printer (3dinsider, 2018).
If the space crew needed something right then from the printer, it would take several hours to get the item they want. Another disadvantage is the sizing of each item being printed (inktonerstore, 2018).
Since 3D printing is new in the space industry, 3D printers won't be able to make gigantic objects, and that would take a long time anyway (inktonerstore, 2018).
Researcher observing a 3-D printer. [Photograph]. Retrieved from Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest.
Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (2014). Retrieved from https://www.nap.edu/resource/18871/3D_Printing_Report_Brief.pdf
Gagnet L.(2017). 3D printing in space. Retrieved fromhttps://www.sculpteo.com/blog/2017/11/29/3d-printing-in-space-the-new-revolution/
Inktonerstore. (2019). 3D printing: know its advantages and disadvantages. Retrieved from https://blog.inktonerstore.com/3d-printing-know-its-advantages-and-disadvantages/
Jozuka E. (2015). 3D printing in space is really hard. Retrieved from https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/4x3pzn/3d-printing-in-space-is-really-hard
Nasa. (2013). Retrieved from https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/spacetech/home/feature_3d_food.html
Singh I. (2016). What are nanosatellites and why do they matter? Retrieved from https://www.geospatialworld.net/blogs/nanosatellites-or-small-satellites-are-going-to-play-a-big-role/
3dprinting. (2019). Retrieved from https://3dprinting.com/what-is-3d-printing/
3Dinsider. (2019). 10 Disadvantages of 3D printing. Retrieved from https://3dinsider.com/3d-printing-disadvantages/
3D Printing In Zero-G Technology Demonstration (3D Printing In Zero-G). (2019). Retrieved from https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1115.html#overview
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