Lockheed martin leverages Makerbot 3D technology for NASA lunar rover
MakerBot’s 3D printers have numerous applications and use cases including several parts for
prototyping, proof of concept components for the rover projects such as installed system housings,
sensor mounts and other bespoke parts.
These printed parts are designed to withstand extreme environmental temperatures and conditions,
Stratasys SR 30 and Makerbot Abs soluble support materials were used by Lockheed Martin.
These materials are used by Makerbot ABS to create a nicer surface finish.
The solvent support materials allow for more dynamic geometries that would otherwise be impossible to achieve.
“This is the initial development stage,” says Martin Lockheed.
and the rover ATC is a testbed that we designed and developed in-house,”
Aaron Christian, Space Senior Mechanical Engineer also added
“The cost-effective testbed enables quick changes using 3D printing to change the design for other use- cases, whether it be search and rescue,
or intense environment autonomy needs.”
Created with Makerbot technology is a mount for LIDAR,
a sensor that can detect the proximity of objects around it. printed in ABD instead of PLA,
the sensor is mounted on the rover and can withstand intense conditions.
The design allows engineers repeatedly to swap the LIDAR with multiple sensors,
e.g stereo cameras and direction antennas,
It was also created to allow for appropriate ventilation, ensuring that the parts remain controlled even when in operation.
The mounted electronics casing, on the other hand, was printed in PLA to shield the electronics from the hit.
This element features a regulator to cool down the system and is designed to enter the rover
or other automatons at the ATC.
Putting 3D printing on the market
The potential for 3D printing and space flight to work together cannot be overstated,
from near-finish items to cost-effective parts that help commercialize the sector.
“The simplification of designs for 3d printed parts in space application is a huge advantage,”
Aaron Christian said of the interaction between 3d printing and space technology.
“It’s possible to make more complicated shapes.”
It minimizes the number of fasteners required and the number of parts required,
which saves money because one less part must be inspected or constructed.
This also paves the way for future in-space assembly.
On Earth, you developed, printed, and tested the part.
You now know that you can 3D print the same component in space in the future
because you’ve demonstrated that the material and part work there.”
Lockheed Martin sees 3D printing as having enormous cost-cutting
, design agility, and,
the ability to tap into a digital library of part files.