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Game Changing Development

Advanced Manufacturing Technologies (AMT): 3D Print

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

To prepare for a future when parts can be printed on demand in space, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., and Made in Space of Mountain View, Calif., have partnered to develop and launch the first 3D printing experiment to the International Space Station. The 3D printing experiment aboard the space station will implement the first device used to manufacture parts in space. The printer uses extrusion additive manufacturing, which builds objects layer by layer out of Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) plastic, the same material that is used to manufacture a Lego® brick) and other materials. More than 20 parts will be printed from computer-aided design files loaded on the printer with the ability to uplinked additional files from Earth.

MIS, Inc., under SBIR Phase III contract with NASA, will build a 3D printer that can build objects out of plastic feedstock. NASA will provide insight to ensure that the design and materials meet flight certification (safety, interfaces, and operability) requirements as well as performing qualification and performance testing. The 3D Print payload will demonstrate melt deposition modeling additive manufacturing in a consistent microgravity environment. Lessons learned from this technology demonstration will be incorporated into future generations of advanced manufacturing technology for space applications.

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