BAM, CUT & DLR manufacture a tool in zero gravity

BAM, Clausthal University of Technology and the DLR Institute of Composite Structures and Adaptive Systems in Braunschweig are testing 3D printing in zero gravity. This time, for the first time, the researchers are experimenting with metallic powders. Source: BAM

BAM wants to manufacture tools for the first time under zero gravity conditions using 3D printing. Together with the Clausthal University of Technology (CUT) and the DLR Institute of Composite Structures and Adaptive Systems in Braunschweig, BAM has tested its innovative additive manufacturing process during the 31st parabolic flight campaign of the German Aerospace Center (DLR). The goal of the experiments is to show that astronauts can manufacture tools or spare parts when needed, even on a space mission.

The consortium of BAM, CUT and DLR Braunschweig has developed a new technology for applying the powder, a delicate undertaking in weightlessness. The scientists use a continuous gas flow, which is sucked through the powder layers and thus draws in the particles so stabilising the powder bed without gravity.

The processes used in the project “Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity” have already been internationally patented. They are based on two patent families that were jointly registered by BAM and CUT within Germany and by BAM alone outside Germany.