There are many science and engineering marvels which have advantageously helped the world in solving complex issues and requirements or need of the moment. Considering example as an automobile, a bulb, Google search engine and the list is infinite. One of the marvels which are trending in the 21st century is a 3 – Dimensional printing machine.
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As we all know there are two methods of manufacturing, one is subtraction manufacturing and the other is additive manufacturing and 3D printing uses additive manufacturing methods to give you final product you require. The manufacturing of components in 3d printing using layer building technique and cohesive property of the material.
3d printing technology has layered its impression in almost all the fields which involve a material to be manufacturing, ranging from plastics to metals to food products to human organs and so on and the due to its versatile application, the usage of a 3d printer is not only limited to earth but beyond it. One application of 3d printing beyond earth is its usage in space missions.
Recently 3d printers were used in International Space Station to check if the printer can withstand launch pressure, print in space conditions, precision in duplicate printing. The printing is carried out in an environmentally controlled microgravity enclosed container. The principle working of the printer is same.
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The printers used in space are also called as Zero-G printers and the printer was successful in printing and manufacturing a dozen of a component. This has led to further development of next level printer where different range materials can be used and components can be printed.
This could solve a complex operation of space station refilling which is a process of shooting the required components and materials to the space station, one the previously received materials exhaust or components gets damaged and has to be replaced. Refilling involves a lot of pre-launch work and cannot be done instantly due to atmospheric limitations and position of the space station (If you can recall the clip from the movie Martian where the scientist required food and the arrangements and his struggle for it). Refilling is also a highly expensive process.
With 3d printer in the cabin, which can use and melt any material, will be able to manufacture any component required in the space station. This will have a tremendous impact on the space mission, planned in the coming years. Space engineering will change with Zero-G printing technology.
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