The European Space Agency has rolled out a new initiative to refine 3D printing techniques to make space-grade metal parts.
The project, called AMAZE, aims to spur innovations that could one day allow astronauts to print their own metal tools aboard the International Space Station or let engineers on the ground to print entire satellites.
3D printing, or additive manufacturing, builds solid objects from a series of layers, typically by melting powder or wire materials. This technique can produce complex structures with more flexibility and less waste than traditional manufacturing, which could translate into big cost and time savings.
Billed as the world’s largest metal 3D-printing project, ESA’s initiative brings together 28 industrial partners across the continent. AMAZE is short for Additive Manufacturing Aiming Towards Zero Waste and Efficient Production of High-Tech Metal Products.
“We want to build the best quality metal products ever made,” David Jarvis, ESA’s Head of New Materials and Energy Research, said in a statement when the project was unveiled last week at the London Science Museum….
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