Last week we mentioned
Made In Space’s achievement of testing two commercial 3D printers in a simulated weightless environment. But we wondered which 3D printers were used, as the material we saw did not specify the printer involved – only that one of the printers originated from 3D Systems.
Today we see a press release from 3D Systems that says:
3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) announced today that its affordable BfB™ 3000 3D printer successfully completed two zero-gravity test flights in partnership with MADE IN SPACE, a start-up dedicated to providing solutions for manufacturing in outer space.
So, the mystery 3D printer was the very solid BFB 3000! 3D Systems’ VP of marketing, Cathy Lewis said:
We are pleased that our Bits From Bytes 3D Printer performed well in zero gravity conditions.
Apparently Made In Space will continue weightless testing and even plans “suborbital testing over the next few months”. We think that means strapping the BFB the top of a rocket and boosting it up to orbital altitudes – but without the speed to achieve orbit.
This would provide a much longer period of weightlessness for testing, since the zero-gravity flight method provides only a minute or so of weightless time. We’re wondering whether this can provide comprehensive testing, because most 3D prints take quite a bit of time. Eventually we’ll see these printers in orbit where they can print larger test objects.