m4It’s fascinating watching as Made In Space and NASA work together to develop and test 3D printing outside of the Earth’s atmosphere. Back in December one of the most eye-opening applications for a 3D printer that we have ever seen took place. NASA emailed a file for a ratchet wrench to the International Space Station, where astronauts then 3D printed it as a usable tool. Certainly the Zero-Gravity 3D printer provided by Made In Space is just beginning to transform space travel and research.

Also in December, NASA released to the public the files necessary to print the now famous wrench from nearly any desktop 3D printer in our galaxy. The model quickly became one of the hottest 3D printable downloads on the planet as space enthusiasts and science buffs were thoroughly enthused about printing the part at home. NASA has since printed 25 parts in space, ranging from tools to test coupons to parts for 3D printers to clips for tiny satellites. Up until this point, however, these files were not readily available online.

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That’s until this week when Made In Space released a total of 12 new models to the public via their Sketchfab page. Included were the following items, all available for free download to those wishing to print them at home, school, or their office. Each part name is followed by the estimated time it took to print in space along with the functionality and printed size.

Crowfoot Coupon — Used to test the structural strength for comparison to ground controls.
Estimated Print Time: 95 minutes
Part Size: 1.85 x 1.57 x 0.512 inches

Space Container “Honey Jar” — Print sample of a water tight container which is constructed from two parts.11
Estimated Print Time: 199 Minutes
Part Size: Height — 1.29 inches, Diameter — 1.57-1.81 inches

Compression Test — Used to assess compressive strength.
Estimated Print Time: 48 minutes
Part Size: Height — 1 inch, Diameter — 0.5 inches

Flexural Test — Used to determine properties of stiffness.
Estimated Print Time: 48 minutes
Part Size: 3.47 x 0.39 x 0.16 inches

Tensile Coupon — Used to test various mechanical characteristics.
Estimated Print Time: 70 Minutes
Part Size: 4.47 x 0.24-0.75 x 0.16 inches

Hole Resolution Test — Used to test tolerances as well as accuracies of geometries.
Estimated Print Time: 88 Minutes
Part Size: 2.95 x 0.79 x 0.17 inches

Feature Resolution Test — Also used to test tolerances as well as accuracies of geometries.
Estimated Print Time: 45 Minutes
Part Size: 2.41 x 0.79 x 0.20 inches

Zero-G Overhang Test – Designed to test advantages of 3D printing without gravity.
Estimated Print Time: 35 Minutes
Part Size: 0.97 x 0.87 x 0.20 inches

Calibration Coupon – Used to test calibration between print plate and extruder.
Estimated Print Time: 18 Minutes
Part Size: 1.18 x 118 x 0.16 inches

Torque Test — Used for testing torque strength.12
Estimated Print Time: 165 Minutes
Part Size: Height — 0.984 inches, Diameter — 1.18 inches

Column Test — Used to test the print layer quality.
Estimated Print Time: 45 Minutes
Part Size: 0.39 x 0.39 x 1.18 inches

CubeSat Structural Clip — Connector used to test an actual functioning part for a CubeSat.
Estimated Print Time: 27 Minutes
Part Size: 1.06 x 0.827 x 0.354 inches

It’s nice to see Made In Space utilizing public 3D model file repositories like Sketchfab to get the public involved in this research. Such availability could be incredibly useful for schools around the world who have access to 3D printers, along with general space enthusiasts.

Have you 3D printed any of these test coupons or tools? How did they turn out? Which were your favorites? Discuss in the Made in Space forum thread on 3DPB.com. Below is a sample of one of the test coupons:


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