3D printing is cutting edge technology, that’s one of the reasons we love it. But even those of who live in this industry every single day are constantly amazed at everything this technology is capable of accomplishing. For example, as amazing as this technology is, it’s even more fantastic when you realize one firm is using it to merge robotics and 3D printing for the future of space work.
It’s the stuff of science fiction made real thanks to Made in Space and its newly unveiled Archinaut.
If you’ve heard the name Made In Space before, it’s because they’ve been at the forefront of 3D printing innovation for some time. This is the same firm responsible for creating the very first 3D printer that can operate in zero gravity. That technology allows astronauts to build items they may need in space upon receiving the proper program. Now to move beyond the creation of simple tools and up to larger, items, Made In Space has upped its game by creating Archinaut.
Funded with a two-year, $20 million NASA grant, Made In Space and it’s partners – Grumman and Oceaneering Space Systems – are working on a project that is one part 3D printer and one part robotic arm. The goal is to use the technology to accomplish unique tasks outside the International Space Station.
Archinaut is comprised of a 3D printer and a robotic arm, working together. The arm will be responsible for assembling pieces of a downloaded program that have been made by the printer. This combination enables Archinaut to build creations of a size and scale beyond the printer itself and do all of this with minimal human help. That makes it the ideal option for tackling previously impossible tasks in the black void of space.
Robotic arms assembling new tools and technology outside the International Space Station and it’s all brought to you by 3D printing. So where will 3D printing go next? We’re not sure but we can’t wait to find out.