If you are a K thru 12 student in the United States, your challenge is To Design a Space Tool. The ability to 3D print in space is a game-changer for space exploration. Just think about it, when astronauts are on Mars, they will have the ability to make whatever they need, on demand, even though Earth is just a little blue glimmer in the sky. That’s exactly why we are challenging our next generation of explorers to start designing parts for space now. We want students to create and submit a digital 3D model of a tool that they think astronauts need in space. If you win, your design will become a part of space history as one of the first things ever to be 3D Printed in Space.
Innovation and Creativity of the Solution
Ability to communicate the design through the Text Description and/or Finalist Interview
Quality of the 3D Modeled Geometry and compliance with the Design Guidelines
Usefulness of the design in a Space Environment
Please review all of the Contest Rules and the Design Guidelines prior to designing your submissions.
You only have one entry, so make it a good one!
All contests have rules, and ours is no different. YOU WILL BE DISQUALIFIED from the competition if you don’t follow these rules, so please read the Contest Rules thoroughly and carefully.
All 3D printers make objects, but the Zero-G printer is different. If your 3D model does not follow these guidelines, the judges will give you a lower score, so please read the Design Guidelines thoroughly and carefully.
Do tools ever float away while astronauts are on a spacewalk? How do astronauts grip tools in gloves and still work with precision?
Science laboratory equipment, Camera equipment, Engineering Hardware. What things do astronauts need in space to conduct space experiments?
First Aid tools, Splints, Surgical tools. What medical tools do you need in space? How can 3D printing help solve a medical emergency in space?
Power outages, Electrical failures, Filtration system problems. How would you solve the Apollo 13 problem or others using a 3D printer?
What if you were on a space station orbiting Mars with no cargo resupplies? What if everything you needed in space had to be manufactured on station?
Forks, Spoons, Chopsticks, Coffee Mugs, Containers. What tools do astronauts use to eat, if any? Can astronauts even drink warm coffee? What are the challenges of food in space?
How much food will astronauts need when they go to mars? Will they need a live garden? How do you water plants in Zero-Gravity?
Think about toothbrushes, nail clippers, combs, makeup. What tools do astronauts use to groom? How do astronauts shower?
Guitar picks to knitting needles. Astronauts need to relax too. What lifestyle tools do astronauts bring? What do they miss most from home?
Is a Russian wrench different an American wrench? Are all tools metric on the ISS? Is there a standard screw head that is used?
Brushes, brooms, scrubbers. How does the ISS stay clean? Do astronauts have chores? Where does the trash go? Is there dust in Zero-Gravity?
Is everyone right-handed on space station? Has there ever been a need for a tool specifically designed for one person?
Make basic 3D models by stacking primitive blocks together to create interesting 3D shapes. Good for the youngest students to get interested in 3D design and 3D printing.
A beginner tool that introduces you to the basic concepts of 3D Design. Good for budding makers and 3D newbies of all ages to take first steps towards creating custom 3D designs for 3D printing.
Windows/Mac (Desktop Version)
A full-blown CAD (computer-aided design) program, available free for students. Create complex designs, and detailed drawings for engineering manufacture. Good for teens that want the challenge of advanced design.
Future Engineers is an education platform that hosts and develops design challenges for young innovators. We are delighted to host the 3D Printing in Space Challenges powered by the ASME Foundation. On September 21st, NASA launched the first-ever Zero-G 3D Printer (built by Made In Space) to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX-4. To celebrate the launch of this 'In Space Manufacturing' revolution, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Foundation and NASA have partnered together to develop a series of 3D Space Challenges focused on solving real-world space exploration problems. Students can submit 3D models directly to the site for a chance to win prizes, including a 3D print on the International Space Station!
The Future Engineers 3D Space Challenges are a White House Maker Education Initiative and a STEAM Education Program.
SpaceX designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. The company was founded in 2002 to revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets.
Made In Space, Inc. develops in-space additive manufacturing solutions to enable humanity's capabilities away from Earth.
Art Center of Pasadena / Gigi & Julie / Mårten Larsson / Arnold Martin of Absurd Realities, Inc. / North Kingdom / Anders Gustafsson / Jerry Neuman / Steve Preeg / ToyBuilder Labs / Global Effects. Inc / GrabCad / Baby Larsson
Space Images Courtesy of NASA - JPL / Flickr Image Credit: Valakirka
Licensing of products and designs pursuant to creative commons attribution non-commercial licensing.
Thank you to the following designers:
Custom Rocket & Future Engineers Logo: Arnold Martin, Absurd Realities, Inc. / Pinch Valve: https://www.youmagine.com/designs/adjustable-pinch-valve / Screwdriver Handle: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:34838 / Fan Blade: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:27472 / Planter: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:199679 / Pinchers: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:18339 / Hemostat: Made In Space / Finger Cast: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:387792 / Hair Clip: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:9948 / Planetary Gear Set: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:18291 / String Winder: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:225781
Future Engineers is a multi-year education initiative and we are just getting started! Our first 3D Space Challenge provides curriculum videos on the site that parents and educators can use to get kids designing today. We encourage you to dive in and use these resources now to get students started on the Space Tool Challenge!
We are also working to develop a more comprehensive educator packet for each challenge that is aligned with the Next Gen Common Core Standards. We dream big here at Future Engineers, and we love to work with others that dream big too. Even though we don’t have an established network for Future Engineers Workshops and Showcases yet, we are committed to building one! That’s why we are starting to collect contact information now from people that want to get involved.
Are you an educator (in-school or after-school) and want to teach students how to create 3D models for 3D printing? Teachers know our students best and are the true heroes of STEM Education. Our site provides you the basics to use in class and we encourage you to get students involved with the first challenge now! If you also want to get connected to Future Engineers Workshops, Showcases, or Technical Mentors please sign up here.
Can you host a 3D Printing Showcase where students bring their designs to 3D print on a Showcase Day? To host a 3D Printing Showcase you need at least one functional 3D printer in a kid-safe environment. Possible locations are: libraries, museums, schools, maker spaces (insured and setup as a safe environment kids), after-school programs, a college or corporate additive manufacturing facility. During a showcase you would have to provide a 3D printing expert to help students 3D print their designs.
Do you have a computer lab that can host student designers? Can you become a kid-safe 3D Design Workshop location? Even if you don’t have a 3D printer, you can still provide a computer facility where students can learn about 3D Design. Possible locations are: libraries, museums, schools, maker spaces (insured and setup as a safe environment kids), after-school programs, a college computer lab, or a corporate facility.
Do you know how to make 3D models? Are you a 3D designer, artist, or engineer? Volunteer mentors are needed to help students learn how to create 3D models of their ideas. Our tutorials will teach students how to make basic 3D models, but mentorship is an important part of helping students turn their ideas into reality. As a mentor you would teach and answer questions while letting the students do 100% of the work to execute their vision.
Do you own a 3D printer and know how to use it? Are you willing to bring your 3D printer to a Workshop or Showcase Location to help students 3D print their designs? 3D Printers are pretty mobile these days, so together we can create a 3D printing experience for students just about anywhere. With enough printers, and by keeping the prints small, students can go home with their 3D print in hand!