Sep.27, 2013

The European Space Agency (ESA) has successfully 3D printed a full scale and one-tenth scale replica of the glove worn by ESA astronaut Hans Schlegel while spacewalking.

3D-printed replicas of Hans Schlegel's EVA glove Credit: ESA

According to ESA, these recreations were produced through fused deposition modelling of thermoplastic material at ESA's technology centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. The gloves are an example of additive manufacturing, used routinely at ESA, with melted thermoplastic laid down layer by layer by a movable printing head, guided by a computer model.

Spacesuit gloves are highly complex constructions and most of them are done manually rather than by machine. Upon completion, gloves are then tested by hand to ensure the integrity of the materials and to "break-in" the gloves for their intended astronauts. Mission planners working at ESA's Concurrent Design Facility hopes with 3D printed model, they can examine proposed designs in three dimensions, in astronauts' own hands.

Hans Schlegel donned the original glove during his Space Shuttle mission back in 2008, when he oversaw the addition of the Columbus laboratory to the International Space Station.


Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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