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NASA to Utilize 3D Printer to Recycle Plastic in Space

The Refabricator is a small 3D printer that is capable of taking an Ultem plastic component, melting it down and printing a new component out of the same plastic.

Next spring, the International Space Station will receive a new piece of equipment called the Refabricator, a small 3D printer that is capable of taking an Ultem plastic component, melting it down and printing a new component out of the same plastic.

The machine, which is the first to combine recycling and 3D printing into one device, will be run entirely from Earth, relying only on astronauts to take new products out of the machine.

Newsweek has more information:

Space travel favors light packers, since launching a single pound of stuff costs an eye-watering $10,000. But NASA likes to be ready for anything, which is easier with more supplies. So what’s an agency on a budget to do?

Next spring, the International Space Station will get a new piece of equipment designed to help tackle this problem. Called the Refabricator, it’s a mini-fridge sized machine that can take a plastic component, melt it down, and print a new component out of the same plastic. It’s the first machine to combine recycling and 3D printing into one device, even here on Earth.

Read the full story here.

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