We have a couple older spare iPads sitting around from the last mission and I got the idea yesterday afternoon that we could use one to monitor our sensors/power. We constantly monitor our power so that we have enough to make it through each night using just our batteries. I thought always having it there on the kitchen wall might make keeping an eye on it a bit easier. One of the things I really like about 3D printing is the ability to have an idea and a few hours later have the finished parts. I had a working version designed, printed and put up on the wall last night. This morning I did a revised version with a power button and swapped that up there.
Another item I printed recently was a working ratcheting wrench. This was a model created by Made in Space and was recently uploaded to the space station for printing on their printer in orbit. It can only tighten fasteners and has a low torque limit but shows some of the interesting possibilities of 3D printing. The model is available from NASA along with a number of other 3D models.
The wrench is made up of three freely moving parts (handle, gear/socket stud and pawl) that are printed in a single run. This is another ability of 3D printing that allows for some designs that would be difficult or impossible to manufacture with other methods. My first couple attempts at printing this weren’t successful due to the ABS being extruded at too high a temperature and having all the parts fuse together but I got it sorted out and now all the parts move cleanly.