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You Can Now 3D Print a Copy of the Moon – Motherboard

by • February 4, 2016 • No Comments


Image of the Moon data the site is based on. Image: USGS
If you can’t print a home on the Moon, why not print the Moon at your home? First-year desktop science student Thatcher Chamberlin has created a site that turns the lunar surface into 3D-printable STL files, so you can print out your own plasticky patch of crater-pocked Moon-land.
Chamberlin, who shared the files in Reddit’s 3D printing community this week, explained in a phone call that his Moon2STL project followed on of his earlier work Terrain2STL, that does the same thing for the planet Earth. “Over January I had a lot of spare time, so I idea it’d be rad to do it for the Moon, for the reason I discovered the data for that,” he said.
His Moon-printing site uses data taken of a topographical version of the lunar surface by the US Geological Survey. Users can prefer the part of the Moon they want to print via Google Maps, and Chamberlin’s site can system the elevation data of the area—that marks where showcases like craters are—into an STL file. From there, you can print.
“I don’t in fact have a 3D printing device, so I’m not a hundred percent certain how that works, but I ponder it’s a certainly standard system if you have a printing device,” said Chamberlin.

Screenshot of the Moon2STL site
But 3D printing device-less, he was first inspired to create Terrain2STL for the reason he wanted to manufacture a version on his milling machine of a local harbour where he teaches kids to sail, but discovered that he had to download a massive amount of data to get what he needed. “I idea, if anyone else tried to replicate that it’d be a massive hassle for the reason you’d have to download all that stuff,” he said. “So I figured I’d manufacture a little website out of it, and a lot of individuals in fact do like that.”
Chamberlin has had emails of individuals who have printed local landmarks or utilized it in geography projects in schools; he’s less certain why individuals can want to print the Moon surface, but Reddit commenters seem keen. NASA has in addition previously created files on the market for 3D printing notable Moonscapes such as Apollo landing sites.
The 18-year-old said that, theoretically, it may be possible to print the lunar surface at lifesize scale. “The one thing is, the resolution is like 1800m [per pixel] so if you print it out lifesize you’d just be walking round on a lot of quite big flat triangles for the many part,” he said. “You can just quite see the craters on the scale of tens of kilometers or a thing, so it can be kind of boring.”


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