NASA's new "space fabric"


getting closer to my invisibility cloak design every day…


Chilling Triple-worsted Dwarven Plate UnderArmour Shorts of Wind, don’t fail me now; I have to do rapid recovery -while- doing my minute running at an 8.


It’s printed as ONE UNIT, not as many pieces.


I understand that. But it could be made in many pieces, and joined.


Issey Miyake has NASA beat by years:


From the article:


Can they make a time-traveling robot out of it? Because that never gets old.


I know what 3D printing is. One thing it does NOT do is create “unique materials”. I’ll acknowledge that configurations can be designed that are very difficult or even impossible to make by way of conventional forging, casting, machining, welding, laminating etc, but still, 3D printing large quantities of things will remain very expensive.


Fun fact: Jack Parsons, founder of JPL, thought he was the Antichrist


Well JPL, GE, MIT, and a whole bunch of other letters disagree with you, but ok.


The item pictured in the GIF is just a proof of concept prototype. The final product could be much more complicated, potentially have no two tiles the same. The original article mentions that one possible application would be to have a printer on a spaceship, where space and materials are at a minimum. The printer would have the ability to take old prints and recycle them into new objects.


Given the mention of variable reflectivity for thermal control; it sounds like they may have those downright spooky MEMs mirror arrays, at lower resolution, in mind.


There’s absolutely no guarantee that this could be made in individual pieces and assembled. You can easily make connected systems that are not possible to assemble as discrete components, using this type of deposition (“3D”) printing.

This also doesn’t require anyone to touch it during manufacture, until the piece is complete; limiting contaminant exposure keeps costs and turnaround times small, while also minimizing the chance for errors to creep in. Ever try assembling tiny, fiddly parts with gloves on? And to cap it off, in a clean room, where you have to pass through an airlock on every break even if it’s just to the john? Or in free fall, even, as squishybrain notes? Anything that makes the process less of a pain and less error-prone is a damn good thing.


False. Several types of “metamaterial” have been 3D-printed, for example.


And he looked the part.


ok, but is it machine washable or dry clean only?


First example of thing isn’t perfect
complaints ensue
pictures at 11


This is why I want to buy my son a 3D printer; “Son, you know the rule; no more than 2kg of toys at any one time. If you want a new toy, you’ll just have to melt something down and print something new.”


complaints ensue

Questions = complaints? STEM much?


JPL (also a bunch of the national labs, especially ORNL and LLNL) can do things no off-the-shelf printer can do. Especially with metals. Things that definitely should count as “making unique materials.” Like, combining multiple metal powders to create gradient alloys with different element ratios at different points in a single structure (including within a single layer). Or modifying the laser or e-beam parameters to locally control grain structure and alloy phase and micro-cracking to create microstructures we can’t achieve with conventional metallurgical methods.

For example, see this JPL press release from mid 2014: I imagine they’ve progressed quite a bit in the almost 3 years since.

And this is JPL. “Expensive” and “large quantities” are not the top priorities.