New 3D Printed Whiskey Space Glass Allows Astronauts to Catch a Buzz

IMTS

Share this Article

space whiskey

Is it time to get your whiskey buzz on in space? Not quite. But there are people at whiskey maker Ballantine’s and at the Open Space Agency working hard to see that if the International Space Station changes its no alcohol policy, the proper 3D printed whiskey glass will be available to astronauts jonesing to wet their whiskey whistle under microgravity conditions.

What has to happen to design and then 3D print the first space whiskey glass? Surface tension is key. Although the outside of the glass appears to be a normal whiskey glass, the operations on the inside are quite complex –like the taste of a finely blended whiskey. Lovely looking, 3D printed rose gold, shaped into a spiral, keeps whiskey at the bottom of the glass while increasing surface tension. The ‘glass,’ of course, is printed in plastic.

glass2

A helix draws whiskey in a spiral up the glass and holds it there until the astronaut takes a sip, using the rose gold mouthpiece, that provides a smoother drinking experience. The glass is covered by a lid that keeps the liquid contained. It’s as simple as that!

But wait! It’s not actually so simple. People seem drawn to the intrigue of designing glasses for space because of the scientific and technologicalspa1 challenges inherent in the process. While this design team makes it look easy, there are other steps of course that must be followed. A custom nozzle with a one-way valve at the glass’ bottom infuses the whiskey into the glass, and then inertia does its work. While the whiskey is pulled down into the base of the glass, the heat of your hand rolling the glass is transferred through the metal base to the whiskey.

Open Space Agency founder James Parr was on the team that designed the glass. And here he explains the final steps that lead to that smooth space age sipping:

“Step three involves then moving the glass down prior to moving your nose into the space where the vapours are resting. The final motion is to move the glass upwards to capture the liquid in the base plate and let it enter your mouth.”

glass1Then the idea that this will actually work in space needs to be tested under the closest to optimal microgravity conditions, which is why the Space Glass then headed to the ZARM Drop Tower at Germany’s University of Bremen. The whiskey did exactly as expected, staying in the baseplate and then winding its way up that fancy, rose gold helix. Good work, everyone!

In the following video about the Space Glass design, printing, and testing process, Parr explains why 3D printing was chosen for this project:

“The Space Glass is 3D printed, which is the technology of the future. It’s the way we are going to make things in space. There is a 3D printer now at the International Space Station. Astronauts could print the Space Glass now, which could solve the problem they have now which is how to drink. It’s something that needs to be resolved. I love the idea of astronauts using the Space Glass right away.”

And there’s even more to the story.

Ballantine’s has prepared a special Space Blend, which, among other things, has additional “sherry matured malt” to add some more flavor, making it “considerably more concentrated”  and to “add an extra dimension” to the blend. Tasting flavors, like whiskey itself, is a hard thing to come by way out there in the wild blue yonder… Why not call this (pun intended) the “Buzz Blend” after the second man to step foot on the moon?

Now, who’s going to start a petition stating that astronauts should have the right to throw back a few (or sip slowly) on their down time? Let us know your thoughts on this space-age design in the 3D Printed Whiskey Glass for Astronauts forum thread over at 3DPB.com.

space glass

 

Share this Article


Recent News

3D Systems Brings 3D Printed PEEK Cranial Implant to the U.S. with FDA Clearance

Relativity Space Lands $8.7M Air Force Contract for Real-time Flaw Detection in 3D Printing



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

Air Force Awards Fortius Metals $1.25M to Qualify 3D Printing Wire for Hypersonic Applications

AFWERX, part of the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), awarded a Direct-to-Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract worth $1.25 million to Colorado’s Fortius Metals, to accelerate qualification...

US Air Force Awards JuggerBot $4M for Large-format Hybrid 3D Printing

Large-format 3D printer manufacturer JuggerBot has received a $4 million grant to develop a large format 3D printer, courtesy of the Under Secretary of Defense, Research and Engineering Manufacturing Technology...

Where Have All AM’s Unicorns Gone?

In the rapidly evolving world of 3D printing, startups valued at over a billion dollars, known as unicorns, once seemed as fantastical as the mythical creatures themselves. While a few...

Sponsored

How My Childhood Fascination with Planes Led to Investing in 3D Printing

My fascination with aerospace started young, and I started studying planes–identifying them in the sky and learning everything I could about how they work.  Fast forward to my first week...