As you can see, there are many research teams from large companies and multinationals as well as specialized centers or universities that work every day to investigate all kinds of fields where the possible use of a last generation 3D printer could be very interesting.
In this case, I want to tell you about an investigation that is being carried out in the Ottawa Carleton University, specifically within the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering where literally, or at least that is how those responsible, represented and directed by Alex Allery have exposed, where they look for a way to develop 3D printers capable of self-replication so that they can be used in the construction of the first settlements on the Moon.
As commented by himself Alex Ellery about the project:
Our starting point is a RepRap 3D printer, which can print many of its own plastic parts.
I believe that self-replicating machines will be transformative for space exploration as it effectively eliminates launch costs.
In Canada they already work on 3D printers capable of self-replication.
As you can see, this is a project that seeks precisely to achieve that, just by taking a 3D printer to space, in this case to the Moon, this, before starting to build buildings, can generate all the 3D printers that can be need printing its parts on plastic. Of course, in addition to going from one machine to having several dozen, it can also be used to achieve replacement material in case one can break down.
How negative part of the project, as the person in charge comments, apparently the researchers have found the problem that, because the magnetic field on the Moon is very weak, engines do not have enough power to be able to move.
On this point, Ellery he tells us:
The magnetic field is actually very weak, so we are trying to figure out ways to add more layers to increase the amount of current that passes through them. But finally, what we will do is that we integrate it into the engine so that it gives us a complete core, which will be 3D printed.
We have studied vacuum tubes because trying to create solid state electronics would be practically impossible on the Moon. If you use vacuum tubes, the only materials you need are nickel, tungsten, glass, essentially, and you can do it all on the Moon.