NASA ASME Future Engineers 3D Printing in Space Challenge


In the upcoming weeks NASA will be printing the first ever 3D printed object aboard the International Space Station (ISS) as part of the 3D Print in Zero-G Technology Demonstration. In general, a 3D printer extrudes streams of heated plastic, metal or other material, building layer on layer to create 3 dimensional objects. Testing a 3D printer using relatively low-temperature plastic feedstock on the ISS is the first step towards establishing an on-demand machine shop in space, a critical enabling technology for deep-space crewed missions and in-space manufacturing.

To share the excitement surrounding the 3D Printing in Zero-G demonstration with K-12 students, NASA entered into a partnership with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers to conduct a series of Future Engineer 3D Printing Challenges which provides the opportunity for student designs to be printed on the 3D Printing in Zero G printer aboard the International Space Station. The Future Engineers series of challenges was announced in June as part of the White House Maker Faire to harness the creative and skills of Makers around the nation to tackle pressing problems.

The first challenge asks students in grades K-12 to design a 3D model of a “Space Tool” and has a deadline of December 15th. This is one in a series of 3D modeling and printing challenges that will be held over the next few years. The website provides tutorials on 3D modeling design, as well as, free 3D design software that students can use to design their models. Additionally, as part of the White House Initiative, 3D Systems is donating 3D printers to museums, science centers and libraries across the country as a MakerLab Club (applications due November 17, 2014). Thereby expanding young people’s access to the 21st century tools of 3D Design and 3D Printing.

Niki Werkheiser, NASA 3D Printing in Zero-G Project Manager, has created a 3D Print in Zero-G/Future Engineers presentation which includes notes to assist you in sharing this story.

Future Engineers: What Will You 3D Print in Space? Challenge Video

Future Engineers 3D Printing in Space Challenges

NASA and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) have partnered to launch the Future Engineers 3D printing in space education challenge for K-12: “Design a Space Tool”. We’re challenging the students of today to become the future creators and innovators of tomorrow by inspiring their creativity and imagination with the ultimate space challenge — designing their very own space tool to be printed on the first-ever 3D printer aboard the International Space Station. Blast off with us + get involved today!

  • Brainstorm using our Space Tool Idea List
  • Watch Animated Space Science Lessons
  • Learn ow to Create 3D Models
  • Sign Up and Submit Your 3D Model to the Contest Site
  • Win out of this world prizes!

Deadline for the Space Tools Challenge: December 15, 2014

Next Challenge Announced : February 2015