The US space agency NASA has released two dozen printable 3D models of spacecraft and alien worlds.
A page at NASA’s website now holds around two dozen 3D models of contemporary interplanetary spacecraft, asteroids and planetary surfaces. Among the spacecraft are Cassini, Dawn, Kepler, Messenger, Pioneer, Rosetta and many more.
There are a few planetary bodies in the small collection, including the asteroid Eros, shown above. Also available are the asteroid Itokawa, the dwarf planet Vesta and surfaces of the Moon and Mars. These models are incredibly detailed and should print very well. Even better, NASA has pre-cut them into printable pieces, as you can see above – although from a distance the print might not look like something other than an asteroid.
The actual printability of the spacecraft models is questionable, as most of them include many extremely spindly parts, like long protruding antennae. It’s pretty clear to us that those parts are almost impossible to print, even with support structures: removal of the support structures would likely snap the very small antennae. Printing them on industrial 3D printers would also be quite challenging. Nevertheless, you still may be able to print the main spacecraft bodies.
We’re hugely pleased that NASA has done this. They’ve been collecting massive amounts of 3D data on our solar system and it’s been curious why they haven’t released it in this way. But now they have, and they’ve done it in just the right way to address the needs of the 3D print community.
Now, do we have any gray filament left?