The following figures comprise a gallery of parts printed from the Fortus 400mc 3D Printer (note: not an exhaustive representation of output) The first two figures show the CAD model and the 3D part of a female head printed for MOVES as a part of their studies on tangible 3D virtual humans (Dr. Amela Sadagic). Prototype assemblies can be built from individual parts to verify a working design such as the control moment gyro (CMG) (Mike Ross/Mark Karpenko).
The next figures represent working assemblies, such as the MAE Spacecraft Robotics platform (Dr. Marcello Romano) built from a number of 3D-printed parts for the structure, a Physics Robotics (Dick Harkins) project that utilizes a number of 3D parts for housings, and working parts such as the 'whegs' that propel the platform over terrain and obstacles.
3D parts were also used in thesis research to validate an optics design for an experimental nano-satellite imaging platform.
STL File Requirements
If you're using one of the NPS-licensed CAD programs, it's very likely you can export your part geometry into the .STL file format. Here are some settings for the more popular CAD programs. It's best to have your model in English Inch units, but millimeters will work, also. The basic settings for export deal with Angle Tolerance (how much the normals of the surface triangle can deviate from one another), and Deviation (how much the mesh is allowed to deviate from the CAD part).
- File > Save As
- STL > Options
- Change the resolution to Custom
- Change the deviation to 0.0005in (0.004 mm)
- Change the angle to 4.75
- File > Export > Rapid Prototype File > OK
- Select the part to be prototyped
- Select prototype device > SLA500.dat > OK
- Set absolute facet deviation to 0.00039
- Select Binary > OK
A concern for any material in space or for research is whether they outgas -- will they be a source of contamination. NASA has performed testing to determine the amount of outgassing of various (read many, many) materials in a vacuum. The numbers provided are in TML (percent of total mass loss), CVCM (percent of collected volatile condensable materials) and WVR (percent of water vapor regained). For more information on the NASA outgassing tests, see http://outgassing.nasa.gov. The Stratasys polycarbonate (PC) material was tested and results are favorable for use in space, of course, verification should be done to ensure the specific application is consistent with the NASA test results. Below is the output from the NASA on-line outgassing report (when doing a search on "Stratasys"):
STRATASYS POLYCARBONATE PC10 - RAPID PROTOTYPE MATERIAL % TML: 0.17 % CVCM: 0.00 % WVR: 0.14 STRATASYS POLYCARBONATE PC10 - SUPPORT MATERIAL % TML: 0.10 % CVCM: 0.00 % WVR: 0.07 STRATASYS POLYCARBONATE PC10 MODEL MATERIAL % TML: 0.14 % CVCM: 0.00 % WVR: 0.12