Have you dreamed of designing a 3D-printed tool for use by the astronauts on the International Space Station? Here is your chance. Mouser Electronics, along with electronics supplier Amphenol and technology giant Intel, recently announced the ISS Design Challenge. The contest gives college students, engineers, and makers the opportunity to develop an object that will be printed on the International Space Station and used by the ISS astronauts.
The design has strict guidelines for the size, materials, and overall form that the item can take. The item must be small enough that it can be printed by the ISS 3D printer and must be comprised of the ABS, HDPE or PEI+PC materials that are supported by the printer. It also must have smooth edges to prevent the object from damaging the space station environment. Slip-fit and snap-fit designs are allowed, but the item must be a standalone object that does not require a support structure.
Though the dimensions and materials are limited, the program encourages each entrant to think creatively about what they are designing. The object can be a utility tool, a tool supporting research, or even something that provides entertainment for the astronauts.
The use of electronics in the object is encouraged as long as it doesn’t interfere with space station operations and can be powered by a coin cell or other small alkaline battery. Submitted projects will be judged by former Mythbuster and Mouser collaborator Grant Imahara and former ISS commander Chris Hadfield.
The contest is part of the Empowering Innovation Together program, a collaboration between electronics supplier Mouser and celebrity engineer Imahara. “I love that this first-of-its-kind contest allows future engineers to build their confidence as a whole, and share in a global community of innovation,” Imahara said in a related statement. The contest is open now for submissions and the submissions period will close on October 7, 2016.