The everyday tech that could take us to the MoonFollow project
In the Engineering Edge Podcast "The everyday tech that could take us to the Moon" I spoke with Matt Napoli from Made In Space. He told me about plans to 3D print using moon dust, and also that a 3D Printed Wrench was the first item to be designed specifically for a requirement on the International Space Station and then printed up there.
So I wanted to print my own wrench.
The file is available at: https://nasa3d.arc.nasa.gov/detail/wrench-mis
Here's my print in progress:
I really love the mechanism. And it's all printed in one go. No assembly required.
One thing I noted about the wrench is it only works one way - so I thought about how I'd design it to both do-up and undo things. But others have beaten me to the idea - such as NattyWard789987's Double-Ended Wrench: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:790942
With the wrench printed, I started to think about 3D printing with moon dust. As I didn't have any (sadly) I decided to try with concrete ...
The "nozzle" was a piped icing bag - I tried to adjust the nozzle ...
But ended up just removing it ...
Wet concrete is squidgy, so it all went into the bag OK.
It's just not very easy to squeeze out of the bag. I wondered if agitation may be the answer - so I "borrowed" an electric toothbrush ...
And almost immediately that just resulted in a broken toothbrush. It's not designed to work with so much grit around!
I think we decided in the end, that as well cement being thixotropic, the friction involved between all the sand and grit and cement, just meant that this really wasn't a very good idea.
I hope they have better success on the Moon!