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Gravity 3D printer on the International Space Station (ISS)
Created the first object made using additives, paving the way for future long-term development
\"This first print is on-
Demand Machine store capability away from Earth, \"said Niki Werkheiser, program manager for 3D printers at Nasa\'s Marshall Space Flight Center International Space Station in Huntsville, Alabama.
\"The space station is the only laboratory we can fully test this technology in space,\" Werkheiser said . \".
NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore, commander of the International Space Station Expedition 42, installed the printer in November 17 and carried out the first calibration test print.
Based on the test print results, the ground control team sent the command to recalibrate the printer and printed the second calibration test on November 20.
These tests verify that the printer is ready for manufacturing operations.
On November 24, the ground controller sent the printer the order to make the first printed part: the panel of the extruder housing.
Nasa says it shows that printers can make replacement parts for themselves.
3D printer uses a process officially called additive manufacturing to heat a relatively low temperature
Temperature the plastic filament, extruded one layer at a time to build the part defined in the design file sent to the machine.
Wilmore then removed the part from the printer and checked it.
The adhesion of the parts on the tray is stronger than expected, which may mean that layer bonding is different under weightless conditions, and with the printing of future parts, the team will look into the issue.
Wilmore installed a new print tray and the ground team went to fine-
Adjust the printer calibration and print the third calibration coupon.
When Wilmore removes the calibration coupon, the ground team will be able to command the printer to make a second object.
The results of the first print help to better understand the parameters used when 3D printing on the space station.
\"This is the first time we have used 3D printers in space, and we are learning, even from these initial operations,\" said Werkheiser . \".
\"When we print more parts, we will be able to understand whether some of the effects we see are caused by weightlessness or are only part of the normal fine --
The tuning process of printing.
\"When we put the parts back on Earth, we will be able to do a more detailed analysis to find out how they compare to the parts printed on Earth,\" Werkheiser said . \".
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