At the end of last year, NASA took a giant leap for 3D printing when it sent a 3D printer on board the International Space Station and printed the very first object in space. Now they’re inviting the GrabCAD community to demonstrate their skills and bag themselves $1000 cash prize by designing a complementary Handrail Clamp Assembly (HCA)
Building on NASA’s additive manufacturing capabilities, the part will be 3D printed and studied to further researchers’ understanding of the effects of microgravity on 3D printed parts made in space.
The HCA is currently used by astronauts on board the ISS to provide rigid mounting locations for daily operations in a microgravity environment. The new part will be named the CHAMP – Clamp for Handrail with Additively Manufactured Parts – and will complement the HCA on board the ISS to provide a seat track interface that connects the ISS handrail located throughout the station.
Entries must follow the competition guidelines which include working to the ISS additive manufacturing capabilities along with minimum requirements in regards to size, safety and expectations.
Entries must be uploaded in .stl format along with a description of the design to GrabCAD with the tag “handrailclamp”. The competition closes on February 17, 2015 and winners will be selected a month later on March 17 with 5 prizes up for grabs.
The first object to be printed on board the ISS was a print head faceplate, engraved the names of those who collaborated on the project; NASA and Made in Space. Those objects printed in space including the very first tool to be 3D printed, will return to Earth later this year to undergo testing with identical parts printed on the ground prior to launch.