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You’ll probably answer a big fat no to the question – Can we make/manufacture something in space? But now it’s time to change your opinion and update yourself. NASA has successfully done this by first 3D Printing in space with the help of a company named Made In Space.

Most of us are familiar with the name 3D printing. Now days it is becoming popular day by day. Scientists have created 3D printed vertebra, Indian scientists have created environment-friendly 3D printing technology and a lot more. But 3D printing in space is happening for the very first time in its brief history.

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Barry “Butch” Wilmore holds up the first 3-D printed part made in space

The printer used for this operation is called Zero-G, and it was build specifically for the zero-gravity operation. The 3D printer Zero-g was attached to the box which shoots the plastic filament onto the print surface. The first design drawn by Zero-g was text – “MADE IN SPACE NASA.” Once returned to Earth, the testing of the prints will provide data on a wide variety of factors, including tensile strength, torque, and flexibility.

The Zero-G Printer is the first 3D printer

“This project demonstrates the basic fundamentals of useful manufacturing in space. The results of this experiment will serve as a stepping stone for significant future capabilities that will allow for the reduction of spare parts and mass on a spacecraft, which will change exploration mission architectures for the better,” said Mike Snyder, Director of R&D for Made In Space and Principal Investigator for this experiment.

The printhead faceplate holds internal wiring in place within the 3D printer’s extruder

Images: Made In Space

Click here to read our special coverage on 3D printing


 

Also Read: How the Falling Cat Phenomenon Helped NASA Prepare Astronauts for Zero Gravity