3D Printers are New Space Foundation Education Tools

Written by: developer

The Space Foundation now owns two 3D System Cube second generation printers, the result of submitting a grant proposal to the 3D Systems’ Maker Lab Club. As the first steps in entering the Maker Community, the Space Foundation will use the printers for demonstration and education programs, and as a springboard toward greater 3D printing capabilities. 

The printers will be combined with software also received through a grant opportunity. Google’s Sketchup Pro, Autodesk’s Tinkercad and Meshmixer, along with Blender by the Blender Foundation, will be used to make 3D models that will then be turned into 3D objects by the printers. As part of several STEM initiatives and Next Generation Science Standards, 3D printing will be a part of educational and creative workspaces heading into the future.  

“3D printing is one of those concepts that is going to transform future technology,” said Space Foundation Education Specialist Elias Molen. “We are already seeing parts printed for cars, rockets and other prototypes that could not be manufactured any other way. 3D printing is in the process of revolutionizing the industrial world. At the Discovery Center, visitors can see the new 3D printers in action, and the Space Foundation is excited to incorporate 3D printing into its educational programming. People will be able to learn the concepts of design, programming and printing theoretical concepts into tangible models. As the Space Foundation strives to be the leader inspiring, enabling and propelling future space enthusiasts, these 3D printers will go a long way toward teaching the next generation’s essential technology.”

Learn more about Space Foundation education activities here, and about Discovery Center exhibits and activities here.

Learn how 3D printers are used on the International Space Station here.

Pictured: The Space Foundation’s new 3D printers have been dubbed Pinky and The Brain

This article is part of Space Watch: July 2015 (Volume: 14, Issue: 7).