Last week, news about Pluto was everywhere and rightfully so! After all, just take a look at the close up picture above from NASA.gov! Not to mention, it’s not every day that NASA sends a spacecraft 7.5 billion miles from Earth to explore “New Horizons.”
In the spirit of such amazing space news, we weren’t shocked to learn that this monumental journey has already been sent to another dimension- 3D, that is.
Pluto, the farthest (dwarf) planet from Earth within our solar system was explored for the very first time by an interplanetary space probe by the name of New Horizons.
Just a measly 7.5 billion miles (we’re being sarcastic) from Earth, this ongoing journey came to a close last week after about 10 years.
So, to celebrate this remarkable feat in space history, Brian Allan, an engineer at Formlabs, decided to create a 3D-printed replica of New Horizons.
This venture to 3D print the Pluto space probe began with Blender 3D, which is free software. From there, he used a Formlabs Form 1+ SLA printer that doesn’t need calibration and can be set up and ready to print in as little as 15 minutes.
Allan used the 3D printer to fabricate the probe at 50-micron (a unit of length that’s equal to one millionth of a meter) accuracy.
As opposed to the nearly 10 years that it took to actually get New Horizons to its destination, it only took Allan about eight hours to print its replica.
The size of the completed print was around 4.75 inches from the base to the top of the power supply.
To finish the model of New Horizons, Allan sanded the main dish and began to paint, using a coat of Krylon spray paint and markers to draw an American flag.
Once the layers of paint dried, Allan began to take pictures. In order to make it look realistic, he pulled up an image of Pluto onto his TV screen. He then tied a string to the model and proceeded to dangle it in front of the screen to take some pictures as seen below from 3dprint.com.
After this exploration in the 3D-printing space, we’re certain that many “New Horizons” are ahead!
Copyright Inventionland, 2015