Over the last decade, we have watched 3D printing transform many industries and institutions, including education. Not only is the adoption of 3D printing in education easy and affordable with no previous knowledge of the technology required, but the education industry also benefits from additive manufacturing in an especially profound way, as the integration helps form the future of all sectors by exposing it to the young minds of students. Keep reading to learn how the students and staff of the Holly Springs High School Aerospace Engineering Club were able to master the understanding of 3D printing in a short-period of time in order to complete their impressive creation.
The Holly Springs High School Aerospace Engineering Club provides opportunities for students who are interested in engineering and aerospace to participate in school-wide competitions, creating designs of aircraft and spacecraft to combat present day problems. Their latest competition, The NASA TechRise Student Challenge, presented an opportunity for the club to evaluate the feasibility of using artificial gravity technology on lengthy space exploration missions to mitigate the effects of microgravity on astronauts.
With a goal in mind, the Aerospace Engineering Club students set out to create a centrifuge with a 1 inch radius that would spin at 189.8 RPM to generate 1G of centripetal acceleration. Used in conjunction with an Arduino and an accelerometer, this force would mimic gravity while the rocket was in microgravity to prove that it’s possible to create artificial gravity in space. Right off the bat, the club knew they were going to need to use advanced technology to create a compatible artificial gravity device along with students acquiring new skills in areas such as CAD and 3D printing.
We knew we had to design a device that would fit inside a milk carton sized box, and in order to design it, we needed a 3D printer and materials capable of re-entry at a temperature of 80 degrees Celsius.-Tiffanni Craig, Holly Springs High School Aerospace Engineering Club Advisor
The Need for 3D Printing:
After conducting extensive research on electronics, 3D printing materials, and compatibility, what started out as a just a drawing was then revised multiple times and eventually converted to a 3D model with the hopes of creating a prototype. The club reached out to 3DOLOGiE for assistance with the 3D printing process and were able to 3D print their initial prototypes in PLA material.
The Final Product:
After receiving the prototypes, evaluating and learning the necessary coding software, and conducting more revisions to ensure the final design components were optimized for functionality, 3DOLOGiE 3D printed the final design with a Markforged 3D printer in Onyx ESD material, an aerospace-grade chopped carbon fiber material with a high surface resistance. The parts were printed in just 36 hours and the material cost as little as $42.00 total. Once the final design was 3D printed and in hand, the last step for the students was to build the final product.
Holly Springs High School Aerospace Engineering Club Artificial Gravity Device (Video: Evan Daniel)
After four months of hard work, The Holly Springs High School Aerospace Engineering Club was one of 57 teams to win the NASA TechRise Student Challenge. 3DOLOGiE was very excited to provide the 3D printing services for the project and we look forward to seeing what the future holds for the bright students of The Holly Springs High School Aerospace Engineering Club.