Robert Hillan, a young American Mechanical Engineering student must be beyond excited, especially after the joint announcement made by both NASA as for the Foundation of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers where it was detailed that the precision multinstrument created by the young man had been selected among the hundreds of projects that had been submitted to a previously convened contest.
Robert Hillan's idea that was so popular at NASA is based on the creation of a multi-application tool prototype made of compact plastic that includes different size keys, sockets, precision gauges, and even a single-edge wire cutter. This tool has been sent by the United States Space Agency to 3D print. For this reason, the young student was invited to the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville (Alabama).
Thanks to a competition, Robert Hillan has managed to get his tool into space.
As commented Robert Hillan:
I am very grateful that I was given the opportunity to design something intended to be manufactured on the space station. I have always had a passion for space exploration and space travel in general. I have designed the tool so that it can be adapted to different situations and as a result I hope to see variants of the tool used in the future that can be created using stronger materials.
During his visit, the young man had the opportunity to chat for several minutes with the astronauts who are on the International Space Station. While they were in the middle of their conversation, the design of the tool was concluded and when they saw it Tim Kopra, an astronaut who is today on the International Space Station commented:
One thing that many times comes up with prototyping with 3D printing is that there is a plastic version. But even this plastic version I think would work up to a certain level. Very well done, I think it's great. When a problem arises, it drives specific needs and solutions. 3D printing allows for quick design to meet those needs. That is the beauty of this tool and this technology. You can produce something that was not planned and do it in a short period of time.