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Future Engineers is currently hosting its 6th national 3D printing challenge for K-12 students.

Together with technical assistance from NASA and the ASME Foundation, each semester they prompt young innovators to solve a space based challenge with a 3D printable design.

To celebrate the announcement of this year’s challenge, Future Engineers created a pop-up makerspace hosted at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, VA. Working in the shadow of the retired Space Shuttle Discovery, students learned about why 3D printing is important to space exploration, and took home replicas of 3D printed tools that were printed on the International Space Station.

Wrench Printed on the ISS

 

 

> Printer: MakerBot Replicator+
 
> Layer height: .2mm
 
> Infill percentage: 3%
 
> Print mode: balanced
 
> Material type: PLA
 
> Print time: 1h6m
 
> Material usage: 12.65g
 

Crowfoot Tool Printed on the ISS

 

 

 

> Printer: MakerBot Replicator+
 
> Layer height: .2mm
 
> Infill percentage: 3%
 
> Print mode: balanced
 
> Material type: PLA
 
> Print time: 16m
 
> Material usage: 3.74g
 

Students learned to 3D design using the popular browser-based CAD software Tinkercad and how designs are printed using MakerBot 3D printers.

Deanne Bell is the brain behind Future Engineers and this year's "Two for the Crew" 3D printing challenge.

Deanne gathered an expert panel of aerospace engineers and 3D printing educators and issued this year’s challenge. Accepting entries until December 19th, students nation-wide are invited to design a multi-functional 3D print that astronauts can use on the International Space Station, dubbed “Two for the Crew.” The subject packs a bunch of critical space travel concepts into a neat package, asking students to consider questions like; why do astronauts need tools that can perform multiple tasks? Why are volume and mass economy important on the ISS? What sort of tools are good at multiple tasks?

Future Engineers brought the 3D printing challenge to G.I.R.L. 2017, the Girl Scout's massive national event that featured workshops in innovation and leadership.

A fleet of MakerBot printers ran throughout the event at a booth staffed by women teaching thousands of girls how to design and 3D print. Future Engineers received the event’s Innovator Award for their workshop and its impact.

Girls got an introductory Tinkercad lesson to 3D design their own versions of an ISS space wrench, then learned how to 3D print them.

Deanne Bell joined Niki Werkheiser, NASA's In-Space Manufacturing Manager, at the event to share their passion for engineering and 3D printing.

Smithsonian Make-a-thon photos courtesy of NASA/Aubrey Gemignani
Wrench and crowfoot models courtesy of NASA’s 3D Resources
Model renders courtesy of Made In Space
G.I.R.L. 2017 photos courtesy of Future Engineers

 
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