View Full Version : Researchers use 3-D printer to make parts from moon rock

November 29th, 2012, 10:00 PM
magine landing on the moon or Mars, putting rocks through a 3-D printer and making something useful like a needed wrench or replacement part.

"It sounds like science fiction, but now it's really possible," says Amit Bandyopadhyay, professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Washington State University.

Bandyopadhyay and a group of colleagues recently published a paper in Rapid Prototyping Journal demonstrating how to print parts using materials from the moon.

Bandyopadhyay and Susmita Bose, professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, are well known researchers in the area of three-dimensional printing, creating bone-like materials for orthopedic implants.

In 2010, researchers from NASA initiated discussion with Bandyopadhyay, asking if their research team might be able to print 3-D objects from moon rock. Because of the tremendous expense of space travel, researchers strive to limit what space ships have to carry. Establishment of a lunar or Martian outpost would require using the materials that are on hand for construction or repairs. That's where the 3-D fabrication technology might come in. ...

Source: http://www.zeitnews.org/applied-sciences/robotics/researchers-use-3-d-printer-make-parts-moon-rock

November 30th, 2012, 03:15 AM
I know they try to make it out into something hugely great, but using moon dirt to make items is no different then using sand in to make concrete. Also the tools are only as strong as the glue holding the stuff together. I have seen many things made with 3D Printers and they can still be pretty rough. I used SoidWorks and it can print in 3D. I hate to sound negative, but just because I could make a roller bearing and have SW print it out, it may look nice. But no way would it hold up inside a gear box. They gonna have to improve the cement glue before all this is truly useful in real world applications.