12 Май 2022
Engineers of Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU), commissioned by S.P. Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation Energia, have completed the development of the first Russian 3D printer for printing in zero gravity, the press service of the university reports.
The work was carried out jointly with specialists of RSC Energia (part of Roscosmos) and Tomsk State University, who created a hardware and software complex for controlling the printer.
"Two flight samples of the printer were handed over to the customer. According to Roscosmos, one of them will be sent to the International Space Station in June 2022. With its help, Russian cosmonauts will be able to make the parts necessary to work with the station's equipment. The second sample will remain on the Ground," the report says.
The university noted that the development of the printer with all the necessary stages took a little more than three years. The specialists of Tomsk Polytechnic University were faced with the task of making an apparatus that would allow them to quickly and directly at the station to create the small parts necessary for astronauts so that they would not have to be delivered from Earth.
Figure 1 - Tomsk engineers have developed the first Russian 3D printer to work in space
"The main scientific and engineering challenge was that 3D printing in zero gravity differs from terrestrial conditions. When printing on Earth, gravity makes a significant contribution to the "gluing" of layers during the layered formation of the part. The absence of gravity requires changes in both the technology and the design of the printer," the TPU said.
A 3D printer is a device the size of a small analog TV. According to a given 3D model, the printer prints the desired object from thermoplastic polymers in layers. The parts made in this way are very durable, but at the same time light. The working chamber of the printer, in which the printing process takes place directly, is completely sealed. It is equipped with temperature control, ventilation, circulation and air purification systems. In conventional printers, such elements are not provided.
"In the future, we plan to participate in the training of astronauts in 3D printing, working with the device. And when the experiment takes place directly on board the ISS, it is planned that the polytechnics will participate in the processing of the results," Acting Rector Dmitry Sednev was quoted as saying at the university.
Source: RIA Novosti