3D printed space prototypes

3D printing company MakerBot says that Lockheed Martin has extended its use of 3D printers to produce parts and designs for upcoming space projects.

This includes the development of a new fully-autonomous lunar rover that could be used for NASA’s Artemis program to land the first woman and first person of color on the moon.

The rover’s autonomy system’s early design and development have taken place at Lockheed Martin’s R&D facility which is equipped with a lab full of 3D printers. This includes the MakerBot METHOD X 3D machine which can print nylon carbon fiber and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS).

‘At ATC, we have multiple MakerBot printers that help with quick turnaround times,’ said Aaron Christian, senior mechanical engineer, Lockheed Martin Space. ‘I will design a part, print it, and have it in my hand hours later. This allows me to quickly test the 3D-printed part, identify weak points, adjust the model, send it back to print overnight, and then have the next iteration in the morning.’

This story uses material from MakerBot, with editorial changes made by Materials Today.