Earlier this week, SpaceX had to delay the launch of an unmanned cargo ship headed for the International Space Station. Some of that cargo includes spare parts needed by the Space Station scientists. But very soon, because of 3D printing technology, people in remote locations such as the Space Station will be able to create their own spare parts and tools on the go.
Last fall, the first zero gravity 3D printer was sent to the Space Station and test parts have been created based on digitally downloaded designs.
This news, along with the announcement of a large General Electric additive manufacturing facility coming to the Pittsburgh area, highlights the major advancements in 3D printing technology and its role in the future growth of our technology base.
University of Pittsburgh professor Howard Kuhn is a well known researcher and consultant in the world of additive manufacturing/3D printing. He joins us to talk about the advancements and evolution of the industry.
The 3D printer on the Space Station utilizes the most basic process available. The machine is fairly simple, which Kuhn says will allow the industry to move forward and make more advancements through experimentation.