AMS Spring 2023

Space Age Technology… in Space: 3D Print Challenge by NASA

RAPID

Share this Article

There are few technologies that are currently revolutionizing human capabilities as much as those offered through 3D printing. What if you wanted to make that into something even more cutting edge? Well, the logical next step is: do it in space!

No, this isn’t the plot for the next Tommy Lee Jones/Ben Affleck movie; instead, it is a challenge that has been issued by NASA to the GrabCAD community to design a Handrail Clamp Assembly (HCA) for the International Space Station (ISS). Astronauts at the ISS would use the assembly to “provide [the] rigid mounting locations required in a microgravity environment” – in other words, to be able to hold on tightly to a surface despite the fact that the tendency in space is to float. So you can see how that would be useful.

clampThey haven’t just been holding on for dear life up until now. The HCA currently in use has a seat track interface but NASA is looking for a new design. They are offering prizes worth $2,000 and have, to date, received seven entries. The deadline to enter the Clamp for Handrail with Additively Manufactured Parts (CHAMP) challenge is less than a month away and the submissions will be reviewed by an expert jury composed of:

  • Niki Werkheiser, NASA In-space Manufacturing Project Manager
  • Quincy Bean, NASA In-space Manufacturing Principal Investigator
  • Drew Hood, NASA Exploration EVA Tools Engineer
  • Jason Waggoner, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Structural & Mechanical Design Branch Chief
  • Sara Sigel, Community Manager at GrabCAD

Determinations in regard to the merit of the submissions will be made based on total material usage, the number of prints required to complete each CHAMP, the hand rail connection, and the seat track connection. The characteristics for evaluation are part of what make this particular project more than just another Earth-bound hand clamp assembly.

The amount of material used in the creation of your design is vital because the ISS has an established maximum amount of ABS plastic allowed. This is because of offgassing issues that occur within the pressurized space of the ISS. In addition, there are a limited number of astronauts on the ISS all of whom have limited time – after all they are there to do other things – so the print process itself cannot be overly time consuming.

in situTo see all of the requirements in terms of materials, dimensions, and functionality, you can visit the GrabCAD site through which submissions can be uploaded. The winning entries will be announced by March 17.

What do you think about this space-age contest? Will you be entering your unique design? Let us know your thoughts over at the Space Age Tech in Space forum thread at 3DPB.com.

medium

 

Share this Article


Recent News

Department of Defense Buys Large Format Metal 3D Printer from AML3D

Unifying 3D Printing Software for Long-Term Manufacturing Success – AMS Speaker Spotlight



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

Sponsored

AI-driven Software is Unleashing Growth in Additive Manufacturing – AMS Speaker Spotlight

Additive manufacturing has been gradually gaining ground, but the road to widespread mass customization, on-demand and serial production has been bumpy. Manufacturers eager to embrace this technology are held back...

Sponsored

The Fight for Clean Data in Additive Manufacturing – AMS Speaker Spotlight

Dirty data costs the additive industry millions of dollars a year. Material parameter development, operational mistakes, or part failure could all be avoided if reliable, detailed and comprehensive data about...

New Mitsubishi Electric Automation Software Simulates Production Lines for 3D Printing

Mitsubishi Electric Automation, a U.S. subsidiary of the Japanese multinational, has announced the release of MELSOFT Gemini 3D Simulator Software. MELSOFT Gemini 3D is a digital platform designed for simulating...

AME-3D Taps AMFG Automation Software to Strengthen 3D Printing & Vacuum Casting

According to SmarTech Analysis in its “Opportunities in Additive Manufacturing Software Markets 2023” report, this market is expected to grow faster than previous projections showed, as it’s “evolving at a...