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very large 3d printer in orbit

Posted by: Sigma - Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:33 pm
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very large 3d printer in orbit 
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Post very large 3d printer in orbit   Posted on: Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:33 pm
Launch a very large 3d printer to orbit, with a docking clamp and room for building materials, and then use hydrogen gas guns or any other mass launcher to hurl materials to orbit. Then have minimal engines etc to re-supply.

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Post Re: very large 3d printer in orbit   Posted on: Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:38 am
Doesn't even need to be very large. They can be just big enough to print components or travel along an assembly depositing materials like a spider spinning a web. Near vacuum will makes additive fabrication easier and stronger.

Also there is a lot of raw materials already up there in all the space junk in low all the way up to GEO. The trick is having the D/V to go get it and bring it to your assembly station.


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Post Re: very large 3d printer in orbit   Posted on: Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:26 am
I was thinking of very large items being built, but if you can have the printing heads move in 3d with enough accuracy, a small craft could print a truly massive ship, that is one giant molecule,

Can they make a CVD diamond printer yet?
Can they print doped diamond semi-conductors?
Once we can print diamond, and carbon nano-tube, and then something super high temp, we can make all kinds of useful robotics and craft that are incredibly resilient.

also if we can grow solar panels on the moon from materials made of the moon, then we really could move people there, and having a 3d printer and a large supply of elements means that you can print mission critical items in mission......

Almost like one of the old Sail boats..... what were they called a ships carpenter?

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Post Re: very large 3d printer in orbit   Posted on: Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:49 am
Shipwright.

NASA is throwing quite a bit of money at additive and other automated CAM devices that can work in space because they are seen as an essential technology for deep space manned projects.

I doubt any monocrystal/molecular objects can be made with additive mfg. By the nature of the technique you are laying down and bonding discreet quantities of material and even in vacuum and at high temperatures, they will still be discontinuous.


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Post Re: very large 3d printer in orbit   Posted on: Wed Dec 26, 2012 10:44 pm
You'd have to launch the mass up there, + the factory, so what's the advantage of this over doing it down here, where we have resources, then sending it up. For once, I'm not saying why it won't work, because it could. Yet again, I'm questioning how well thought out your plan is.

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Post Re: very large 3d printer in orbit   Posted on: Thu Dec 27, 2012 11:26 am
assembled items are quite squishy, chunks of materials in re-usable capsules, think giant ink cartridges. empty, send home, re-load, fire to space, print non-durable things in zero-g

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Post Re: very large 3d printer in orbit   Posted on: Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:08 pm
"Ink" would be much like fuel. How much fuel does it require to launch into orbit, how much fuel to lift the fuel... Also, the Fabricator (Printer, whatver you want to call it) pretty much has to be larger than the item being fabricated in a vaccuum, to contain the usually liquid medium in an environment where it can be worked without contamination. You'd have to spin it (Which is why I'd vote for a cylindric shape) to keep the fluid out toward the walls where it can be hardened, and you'd have to launch this all into space. Somehow, I doubt this would be more efficient than fabricating it here on the ground, where we have all the resources, and launching it to be assembled in orbit. Unless, you ship in resources like an asteroid, or build it on the moon where there are solid resources. The problem with orbital factories is there's not much of anything there except microgravity, sunshine, and vaccuum. Unless the process requires several of these things, it's generally better to do your manufacturing where the resources are.

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Post Re: very large 3d printer in orbit   Posted on: Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:32 pm
a torus shape could move in 3d and leave a rod.... you could "print" objects larger then the printer, because it can move on any axis....

the ink cartridges, are essentially a bullet,
and are fired from a hydrogen gas gun

Not everything can take that G load, so, send up simple things that can take the G's and build complex ones in orbit,

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