In May, I’ll be attending my first-ever 3D printing conference and exhibition. RAPID 2016 will be taking place in Orlando from May 16-19, and I must say that I’m getting pretty excited about it. Billed as “the most important event of the year for anyone involved in 3D manufacturing,” RAPID will feature exhibitions from some of the biggest names in the industry, workshops on hot topics such as medical 3D printing and metals, and events like a fashion show, an innovation presentation, and several hands-on activities.One of the things I’m particularly excited about seeing is the large-scale 3D printed replica of NASA’s Orion crew module, which will be printed and assembled onsite at RAPID. Orion, which was built to take humans farther into deep space than ever before – ultimately to Mars – has been years in the making, and 3D printing has played a major role in its design and manufacture. It’s only natural, therefore, for a 3D printed replica to be featured so predominantly. Last week, RAPID producer SME teamed up with Lockheed Martin, FARO Technologies, Inc., Direct Dimensions, Inc., Met-L-Flo, Inc., Florida Institute of Technology and Cincinnati Inc. to take the first-ever 3D scan of Orion from a model on display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
“Additive manufacturing and 3D printing technologies are widely used to produce aerospace and other high-performance products,” said Carl Dekker, president of Met-L-Flo. “It is exciting that we are using 3D scanning and additive manufacturing to reproduce 3D models of the Orion—a spacecraft which may carry these technologies to other planets.”
The production of the Orion replicas has been a true team effort. 3D imaging company FARO scanned the Kennedy Center model using a laser scanner (with help from Florida Tech students); 3D solutions provider Direct Dimensions will convert the scan into a file that will then be printed by manufacturer Met-L-Flo. About 150 small-scale replicas will be printed, displayed and given away at RAPID, and Cincinnati Inc. will print the large-scale replica in several pieces, using their Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) technology. The large replica will be printed and assembled on the RAPID showroom floor.
“We have really enjoyed partnering with SME on this exciting project,” said Alyse Cohen, Education Events & Competitions, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. “Being among the first people to even see the pressure capsule and being able to host the first-ever 3D scan of the spacecraft is an important part in NASA’s journey to Mars.”
Personally, I’m looking forward to catching a glimpse at a little bit of history as the Orion replica is 3D printed and assembled at RAPID. Not being involved in the aerospace industry myself, this may be the closest I’ll get to the spacecraft that will ultimately bring humans to Mars. Even though it’s just a replica, the thought of seeing it up close still gives me a little bit of a chill, particularly because I’ve been so closely following and covering the progress of Project Orion and its revolutionary uses of 3D technology. I can’t help feeling invested in the mission, and so it will be an honor to be present at RAPID’s tribute. I promise to take a lot of pictures. Discuss in the 3D Printed Orion Replica forum over at 3DPB.com.
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Stay up-to-date on all the latest news from the 3D printing industry and receive information and offers from third party vendors.
You May Also Like
3DPOD Episode 179: Molten Metal Additive Manufacturing with Jonas Galle, ValCUN
Seven years ago, Jonas Galle began his journey to develop a molten metal 3D printing technology. Since then, his young startup, ValCUN, has been on a wild ride The company...
3D Printing Webinar and Event Roundup: December 10, 2023
This week, we’ve got events in Berlin, Nashville, Texas, and more, and webinars on topics including the business of dental 3D printing, Nexa 3D’s XiP, and more. Read on for...
3D Printing News Briefs, December 9, 2023: Equity Crowdfunding, Archaeology, & More
In 3D Printing News Briefs, we’re sharing stories about business first, as DyeMansion reached a major milestone and Batch.Works launched an equity crowdfunding campaign. At formnext 2023, Wibu-Systems showcased its...
3D Systems Likely to Sell 3D Printing Software Business Oqton
Buried in its Q3 financial report for 2023, 3D Systems (NYSE: DDD) highlighted the possibility of a major move that was missed by most of the general public and media:...
Upload your 3D Models and get them printed quickly and efficiently.