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China reveals more details of its first zero-gravity 3D printer – 3ders.org (blog)

by • April 19, 2016 • No Comments

Apr 20, 2016 | By Alec

Zero-gravity 3D printing has been an exclusively American affair since 2014, thanks to Made In Space’s new 3D printing solution. But that changed last week, when Chinese researchers announced that they had that good resultsfully tested their really own zero-gravity 3D printing device during an extensive testing program held in Bordeaux, France. Duan Xuanming of the Chongqing Institute of Green and Intelligent Technology (CIGIT) has now announced additional details of that formidable breakthrough, and in fact argued that their zero-gravity 3D printing device is laying the foundations for a brand new space station that is to be created in 2020.
For those of you who missed it, this Chinese zero-gravity 3D printing solution has been created by an extensive research collaboration showcasing scientists of the CIGIT and the Technology and Engineering Center for Space Utilization (CSU), both part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in Beijing. It has been sponsored by the China Manned Space Program, and development took of two years. Their final functional prototype had been tested during 93 parabolic flights via reduced gravity aircraft at a test site in France. The parabolic test flights created microgravity environments that lasted for of 22 2nds at a time. The test program was a conclude good results, with a total of five various materials and two 3D printing technologies tested.

CIGIT deputy director Duan Xuanming now announced a lot additional of both the 3D printing device and the tests they performed. As he announced, the Chinese-created 3D printing device is not just bigger than the initially Made In Space 3D printing device, but in addition bigger than the upgrade that was sent to the ISS last month. “You can print objects with a maximum dimensions of 220mm x 140mm x 150mm, that is twice the dimensions of NASA’s initially zero-gravity 3D printing device. It is in addition larger than the upgraded adaptation that NASA sent to the International Space Station on March 26,” he argued. Made In Space’s latest version showcases a turn it into volume of just 180 x 140 x 100 mm.

The Made In Space 3D printing device may already tested in the ISS.
The deputy director additional announced that they 3D printed a wide variety of objects during the tests in Bordeaux, which include wrenches, nuts, connecting rods and much like practical tools that may be utilized aboard a space station. Almost the dimensions of a safe, this 3D printing device can be tilted in ereally way possible without harming the printing high end at all. “It prints plastics and two kinds of composite materials, and we in fact concluded tests in weightless and overweight environments, and of course in normal gravity situations. All three situations turn it into various 3D printing parameters,” he announced. “The machine has most one-of-a-kind functions such as the talent to upload and function under varied gravity environments, and can cope with exposure to increased speed and vibrations. We have created China’s initially true microgravity 3D printing solution a reality.”


The deputy director additional explained that the 3D printing device showcases print speeds of 10~30 mm per 2nd, and can easily 3D print replacement parts inside a day or two when aboard a space station. This can, he says, easily assist astronauts test and maintain tools and parts in space, adding a excellent deal of flexibility to their day-to-day operations and experiments. During the tests, a team of scientists in addition continuously collected material data relevant for additive making in space. According to Duan Xuanming, this can in addition excellently assist them to realize next space-bound ambitions. “The data received of the effects of microgravity environments on 3D printing has may already laid the foundation for the construction of the space station in 2020 and its post-operation,” he announced.


The technology’s impact is complex to overstate for the reason it may in fact be a solution for the tremendous costs involved in space exploration. Sending necessary supplies into space is incredibly expensive and can easily take six months to plan and execute. Once in space, precious cargo room is in addition necessary. But those costs may be significantly reduced if you just have to send up a few basic materials that are utilized for on-demand 3D printing. It can, scientists agree, facilitate deeper space exploration through efficiency, flexibility and a decreased reliance on donate lines of earth.

But neither NASA or the CAS are really there yet. According to CIGIT president Yuan Jiahu there are yet a few issues surrounding the Chinese zero-gravity 3D printing device that require to be tackled, yet the good resultsful tests underline the machine’s future. “Especially the printing of complex shapes with high precision and multiple materials yet turn it intos a few problems. Once we manufacture breakthroughs in these areas, we can begin fully via this 3D printing device for high-end applications in space,” he said.

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