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  Lowe's and Made in Space commercial 3D printer

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Author Topic:   Lowe's and Made in Space commercial 3D printer
Robert Pearlman

Posts: 34810
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-29-2015 04:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Lowe's release
The Next Frontier of Retail: Lowe's is First to Launch Commercial 3D Printer into Space

Lowe's Innovation Labs unveils latest sci-fi-inspired solutions with Made in Space

Lowe's Innovation Labs, the disruptive innovation hub of Lowe's Companies, Inc., has partnered with aerospace company Made in Space, to become the first to launch a commercial 3D printer to space.

The printer, the first permanent additive manufacturing facility for the International Space Station (ISS), will bring tools and technology to astronauts in space.

The Lowe's 3D printer is slated to arrive at the ISS in early 2016, making Lowe's the first retailer to have a presence in space. From 200 miles above Earth, astronauts can use 3D printing technology to create a tool on-demand and produce parts they may not have onboard and immediately available. Customers are already using Lowe's Innovation Labs' 3D scanning and printing services to produce custom or hard-to-find replacement parts.

"Lowe's and Made in Space share a vision of how 3D printing can revolutionize retail and home improvement, while also changing the way astronauts work in space," said Kyle Nel, executive director of Lowe's Innovation Labs. "This is just the beginning of a broader partnership with Made in Space that will bring tools to space and new technology to Earth."

"For the first time, astronauts can now manufacture what they need, when they need it in space," said Jason Dunn, chief technology officer and co-founder of Made in Space. "We have successfully demonstrated the technology's capabilities in space. And now with the launch of the permanent additive manufacturing facility to the ISS, we are enabling humanity to manufacture things off the planet."

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 34810
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-22-2016 12:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
First retailer on orbit: Lowe's and Made In Space send 3D printer to space station

Outer space is about to get its first pop-up retail shop.

Lowe's, the home improvement store, has teamed up with Made In Space, the company behind the world's first zero-g 3D printer, to launch the first commercial manufacturing facility on the International Space Station.

The Additive Manufacturing Facility (AMF), as it is called, is an advanced, permanent 3D printer that will be available for use not only by NASA and its station partners, but also by researchers, educational organizations and commercial customers.

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 34810
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-13-2016 03:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Lowe's and Made In Space Additive Manufacturing Facility (AMF) is now installed on the International Space Station and has printed its first part. From Made In Space on Facebook:
"Dream on Earth, build among the stars." The MIS Additive Manufacturing Facility, humanity's first off world commercial manufacturing facility, is installed, operational, and making things! Here's the first commercial print ever, a product for Lowe's Home Improvement– a space-optimized Kobalt wrench, with metric indicator and a clip to prevent loss in the microgravity environment.

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 34810
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-15-2016 05:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
Building the Future: Space Station Crew 3-D Prints First Student-Designed Tool in Space

When NASA fired up the Additive Manufacturing Facility on the International Space Station to begin more testing of the emerging 3-D printing technology in orbit, one college student in particular watched intently.

In autumn of 2014, a high school senior in Enterprise, Alabama, Robert Hillan entered the Future Engineers Space Tool design competition, which challenged students to create a device astronauts could use in space. The catch was that it must upload electronically and print on the new 3-D printer that was going to be installed on the orbiting laboratory.

In January 2015, NASA and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Foundation announced that Hillan's design, a Multipurpose Precision Maintenance Tool, was selected out of hundreds of entries to be printed on the station.

"Our challenges invite students to invent objects for astronauts, which can be both inspiring and incredibly tough," said Deanne Bell, founder and director of the Future Engineers challenges. "Students must have the creativity to innovate for the unique environment of space, but also the practical, hands-on knowledge to make something functional and useful. It’s a delicate balance, but this combination of creativity, analytical skills, and fluency in current technology is at the heart of engineering education."

Hillan's design features multiple tools on one compact unit, including different sized wrenches, drives to attach sockets, a precision measuring tool for wire gauges, and a single-edged wire stripper. After the new manufacturing facility was installed on the station in March, NASA uploaded Hillan's design to be printed.

As a bonus, Hillan was invited to watch his tool come off the printer from a unique vantage point. On June 15, standing amidst the flight controllers in the Payload Operations Integration Center at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, which is mission control for space station science, Hillan looked on as NASA astronaut Jeff Williams displayed the finished tool from the station's Additive Manufacturing Facility. The Marshall Center is located just a few miles from where Hillan is a sophomore engineering student at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

"I am extremely grateful that I was given the opportunity to design something for fabrication on the space station," Hillan said. "I have always had a passion for space exploration, and space travel in general. I designed the tool to adapt to different situations, and as a result I hope to see variants of the tool being used in the future, hopefully when it can be created using stronger materials."

Not only did Hillan get to watch his tool being made, he also got to spend a few minutes chatting with astronauts on the station.

NASA astronaut Tim Kopra, a current station crew member, congratulated Hillan, saying "When you have a problem, it will drive specific requirements and solutions. 3-D printing allows you to do a quick design to meet those requirements. That's the beauty of this tool and this technology. You can produce something you hadn't anticipated and do it on short notice."

"You have a great future ahead of you."

The space station's 3-D printer caught national headlines late in 2014 when it started operations and built nearly two dozen sample designs that were returned to the Marshall Center for further testing. NASA is continuing 3-D printing development that will prove helpful on the journey to Mars with the newly installed Additive Manufacturing Facility.

"When a part breaks or a tool is misplaced, it is difficult and cost-prohibitive to send up a replacement part," said Niki Werkheiser, NASA's 3-D Printer program manager at Marshall. "With this technology, we can build what is needed on demand instead of waiting for resupply. We may even be able to build entire structures using materials we find on Mars."

Winning this competition made Hillan see the space industry in a different light, and it may have changed the direction of his future.

"When I won the competition, I started seeing problems I face as new opportunities to create and learn," Hillan said. "Since then I have tried to seize every opportunity that presents itself. I love finding solutions to problems, and I want to apply that mentality as I pursue my engineering degree and someday launch my own company."

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