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3D Printed Tensile Structures in Space

  1. Jun 15, 2013 #1
    I was looking at this demonstration of a new kind of 3D printer:




    and I was wondering if this approach to 3D printing could be useful for creating structures in space, perhaps in Low Earth Orbit.

    I was wondering how these tensile types of structures could be put to practical use in space. Could they perhaps become the skeletal framework to which flexible envelopes could be attached, to create pressure vessels? Or could such envelopes be inflated first to give them the right shape, and then these solid ribs could later be printed onto them? What would be the best approach?


    Alternatively, what about printing large lattice, scaffold, or truss structures? Could it be possible to print a radio tower or boom?

    Seems to me that the curvilinear segments would only be advantageous for pressure vessel containers, whereas for other load-bearing structures like trusses or latticework it should stick to just printing basic linear segments.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  2. jcsd
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