What to do when you are missing a simple key socket to repair a device. Easy, just go to the DIY of the corner store. But when you’re like Barry “Butch” Wilmore, Commander of the international space station… you need to arm yourself with patience and wait a few weeks the arrival of the next supply vessel. That was until the first 3D printer to be installed on the space station. For the first time, a tool is designed tailored on Earth then downloaded and printed in the station. A demonstration of what 3D printing will change in space… and on Earth.
The Zero-G Printer, in orbit since September 21, 2014
So it’s the first time that an object has been “downloaded in space. In response to a request from the crew of the international station, a socket and ratchet wrench is designed tailored by Noah Paul-Gin, Made engineer in Space, the constructor of the 3D “Zero-G Printer” printer that was sent to the ISS on September 21, 2014.
The engineer used Autodesk Inventor to create a ratchet functional printable 3D and requiring no editing. After several tests realized on the ground, on an identical printer, the G-code corresponding to the “Zero-G Printer” file was sent to the Commander of the space station… by email.
printing 4 hours later, our “Butch” Commander had his tool in hand. It was the 21st object printed in space on this “Zero-G Printer”, but the first file was downloaded from the Earth, on request.
Translation : Bing Translator
Source : “The First Uplink Tool Made In Space is…”, Made in Space, December 17, 2014