Students for the Exploration and Development of Space

Help students learn basic astrophysics engineering!

  • Total needed: $1,000
  • Deadline: December 31, 2013
  • some money and some days to go

3D printing is currently a small field but it is on the verge of changing the world.  If you are not familiar with the idea of 3D printing basically you can design an object on the computer and then use a 3D printer to print out the actual object.  The most common material is currently plastic because it is easy to melt down but many metals and even computer boards are now printable.  The implications of this shift are vast and much more impactful than the changes that occurred once household paper printing became commonplace.

Imagine a world where anything in your house breaks and all you have to down is download a design from the web and print out a new light bulb, a new faucet for the sink or a new tool for your workshop.  The UNC Students for the Exploration and Development of Space wants to be a part of this revolution and help take advantage of the amazing possibilities that 3D printers hold for the continued exploration of outer space.  With a 3D printer we will be able to rapidly develop new fin designs for rockets by simply drawing them up and printing them out.  We will be able to test new packages for high altitude weather balloons.  We will be able to design new and innovative tools that could be used in outer space.  Picture yourself on the space station and somehow you forgot your wrench, you could wait weeks for another one to be delivered at a extremely high cost, or, if equipped with a 3D printer, you could simply print one out and have it in minutes.  We make that a reality for astronauts.

The coolest part of all this is that if we are able to gain the funds for one 3D printer, which is around $1000 if we do all of the actual construction ourselves, we can buy another basic frame (around $200) and print out an additional printer from the original one for around $50 of material.  After we gain our first printer we plan on helping to build more for other groups on campus who need the ability to rapidly build and develop tools.  This will provide SEDS a way to meaningfully contribute to the body of knowledge on 3D printers, help push the boundaries of space exploration, and provide the rest of campus with an affordable way to design intricate and interesting new products.

If you are interested in having SEDS build you a much discounted printer please contact me personally at clifgray@live.unc.edu and forward this on to your friends so that we can fund the first one and so we can bring 3D printing to the UNC community.