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Sat Dec 20, 2014, 08:33 AM

NASA Just Emailed A Wrench To The International Space Station


For the first time ever, hardware designed on the ground has been emailed to space to meet the needs of an astronaut. From a computer in California, Mike Chen of Made In Space and colleagues just 3D-printed a ratcheting socket wrench on the International Space Station. “We had overheard ISS Commander Barry Wilmore (who goes by “Butch”) mention over the radio that he needed one,” Chen writes in Medium this week. So they designed one and sent it up.

“The socket wrench we just manufactured is the first object we designed on the ground and sent digitally to space, on the fly,” he adds. It’s a lot faster to send data wirelessly on demand than to wait for a physical object to arrive via rockets, which can take months or even years.

The team started by designing the tool on a computer, then converting it into a 3D-printer-ready format. That’s then sent to NASA, which transmits the wrench to the space station. Once the code is received by the 3D printer, the wrench is manufactured: Plastic filament is heated and extruded layer by layer. The ISS tweeted this photo earlier this week, and you can see more pictures of the very cool wrench-printing process here.

Located on the campus of NASA’s Ames Research Center, Made In Space built the first 3D printer for microgravity, and it was launched to the ISS in September. Within a month, the astronauts 3D-printed their first object: a replacement faceplate for the printer’s casing (pictured below).


http://www.iflscience.com/space/how-nasa-emailed-wrench-space

Wow, so cool.

11 replies, 1197 views

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Reply NASA Just Emailed A Wrench To The International Space Station (Original post)
MerryBlooms Dec 2014 OP
hlthe2b Dec 2014 #1
MerryBlooms Dec 2014 #2
hlthe2b Dec 2014 #3
csziggy Dec 2014 #9
hlthe2b Dec 2014 #10
bloomington-lib Dec 2014 #4
underpants Dec 2014 #5
gvstn Dec 2014 #6
MerryBlooms Dec 2014 #7
gvstn Dec 2014 #8
yardwork Dec 2014 #11

Response to MerryBlooms (Original post)

Sat Dec 20, 2014, 08:46 AM

1. With all the discussion of 3D printing, I'd wondered if that might be possible. VERY cool

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #1)

Sat Dec 20, 2014, 08:53 AM

2. So amazing to me. Also, the story of 3D prosthetic legs for this dog

By now, the heartwarming video of Derby the dog running for the first time in his life thanks to 3D-printed prosthetic legs has officially gone viral. But Derby, a rescue dog who was born with disabled and deformed front legs, isn’t the only one excited about his fancy new limbs. While 3D printers have been used to make replacement limbs for humans, Derby is the first animal to be successfully outfitted with 3D-printed prosthetics. His ability to run marks a huge step forward for the small but remarkable field of animal prosthetics.

Derrick Campana — who helped create Derby’s new legs with designers at the 3D printing company 3D Systems — has been a trailblazer in that field for the past decade.

A certified orthotist, specializing in the creation and use of corrective braces and artificial limbs, Campana had worked only with human patients until about 10 years ago. But when a veterinarian brought a dog in need of a prosthesis to the facility where Campana was working, he discovered he could apply the same technology that he’d mastered on people to help animals. He also soon learned there was a market for animal prosthetics and orthotics that hadn’t really been tapped. So Campana founded Animal Ortho Care in Chantilly, Va., one of the first companies to make orthotics and prosthetics specifically for animals. Today, Campana told Yahoo News, Animal Ortho Care is one of five such companies in the world, seeing between 200 and 300 animal patients each month.

A few months ago, Derby became one of those patients. Tara Anderson, an employee at the South Carolina-based 3D Systems, had been fostering the disabled dog, and after a failed attempt to help him walk with a cart, she enlisted a couple of her colleagues to help make Derby some prosthetic legs. Accessing 3D printing technology was no problem, but none of them were experts in prosthetics. That’s where Campana came in.


So many incredible uses for this technology.

http://news.yahoo.com/3d-printed-legs-help-disabled-dog-run-for-the-first-time-225649913.html

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Response to MerryBlooms (Reply #2)

Sat Dec 20, 2014, 08:57 AM

3. yes, indeed...

although I wish they had worked with a veterinarian anatomist/veterinary physiologist on the prosthetic or that they do so going forward. As cool and wonderful as it is currently, if they don't eventually get his "front legs" closer to the level of the rear legs, he is going to have significant back issues develop.

But, yes, very very impressive.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #3)

Sat Dec 20, 2014, 03:25 PM

9. On one of the TV interviews they said the prosthetics will be made higher

These are the first iteration of this design and they wanted to keep them close to the ground in case the dog couldn't adjust to them. Since the design can easily be altered and the 3D printing process is relatively cheap and fast it's easy to make changes to them.

I think the interview I saw may have been on CNN but I'm not sure.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #9)

Sat Dec 20, 2014, 03:28 PM

10. Good to hear.

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Response to MerryBlooms (Original post)

Sat Dec 20, 2014, 09:43 AM

4. I think this is pretty cool, but saying they sent it up because they "overheard" Butch needing one

is bullshit. Just saying the truth that you wanted to see it work is fine.

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Response to MerryBlooms (Original post)

Sat Dec 20, 2014, 11:35 AM

5. Amazing

rec'd

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Response to MerryBlooms (Original post)

Sat Dec 20, 2014, 11:56 AM

6. I'm still trying to understand the materials used in the printing process.

Are they always "printing" using the same one size fits all plastic material or are there different types of plastic (or other material) for different jobs? Thanks for any insight or links that give a basic overview of what they use as a base material in the printer.

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Response to gvstn (Reply #6)

Sat Dec 20, 2014, 12:04 PM

7. 3D Printing Basics

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Response to MerryBlooms (Reply #7)

Sat Dec 20, 2014, 12:28 PM

8. Thanks.

I'm going to go through those videos to see what is what. 3D printing has really seemed to take off and I have never really invested any time in trying to figure out how it works. I get the concept of printing a plastic part but not how they can do all the things they seem to be using it for now.

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Response to MerryBlooms (Original post)

Sun Dec 21, 2014, 09:48 AM

11. 3d printing is one of the most amazing developments iny lifetime.

The implications are incredible.

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