Jan 19, 2015

POP3D Second space 3d printer to be sent to ISS by ESA

European Space Agency is also sending a 3d printer to International Space Station. It will be the second 3d printer in space. The printer is named POP3D and it's developed in Italy. First ISS 3d printer is already working on ISS and was developed by "Made in Space" and delivered by SpaceX.

Here is the video by Altran:

From the source article:
Europe’s very first 3D printer in space is scheduled for installation aboard the ISS next year.
Designed and built in Italy, it will be put to the test as part as ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti’s Futura mission, and is set to reach orbit in the first half of next year. Samantha herself will be launched on her six-month Station assignment on 23 November.
The POP3D Portable On-Board Printer is a small 3D printer that requires very limited power and crew involvement to operate,” explained Luca Enrietti of Altran, prime contractor for the compact printer.

The unit is a cube with 25 cm sides and prints with biodegradable and harmless plastic using a heat-based process.

“Part of the challenge of designing a 3D printer for the Station was to ensure its operation does not affect the crew environment,” added Giorgio Musso of Thales Alenia Space Italy, principal investigator for the project.

Funded by Italy’s ASI space agency, POP3D should take about half an hour to produce a single plastic part, which will eventually be returned to Earth for detailed testing, including comparison with an otherwise identical part printed on the ground.

“There is big potential all along the value chain, to save cost and mass,” noted Reinhard Schlitt, heading OHB’s Engineering Services.

“But right now the way parts are being produced in various different ways. As a satellite manufacturer, we need common standards in place so we can compare competing supplier parts on a like-for-like basis.

“Europe does have a lead in this technology – the latest laser machines are coming from here for export to the US and China – so we should build on that.”


POP3D space based 3d printer developed in Italy (Source: ESA)

Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, source: ESA