November 15, 2012 AT 3:00 am

3D-Printed Rockets Help Propel NASA’s Space Launch System #3dthursday

RocketPiece

Via Wired UK.

Parts for the rocket engines of NASA’s Space Launch System will be created using a method of 3D-printing known as selective laser melting.

The space agency is taking advantage of new technology to help improve safety and save money as it builds the SLS — a heavy-lift launch vehicle intended to facilitate long-duration deep space exploration, including trips to near-Earth asteroids and, ultimately, to Mars.

“It’s the latest in direct metal 3D printing — we call it additive manufacturing now,” says Ken Cooper, leader of the Advanced Manufacturing Team at the Marshall Centre. “It takes fine layers of metal powder and welds those together with a laser beam to fuse a three-dimensional object from a computer file.”

Although not all of the rocket parts can be generated using the current SLM process, it can be used to improve the overall safety of the system by creating the geometrically complex pieces which would normally require a lot of welding.

Read More.


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Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has thrilled us at Adafruit with its passion and dedication to making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed that our community integrating electronics projects into 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!

Have you take considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless EL Wire and LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects!

The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you have a cool project you’ve made that joins the traditions of 3D printing and electronics, be sure to send it in to be featured here!

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