The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the US government agency responsible for the civilian space programme as well as aeronautics and aerospace research, is using the Estonian-founded, US-based, online engineering platform GrabCAD to design a handrail clamp assembly (HCA) for the International Space Station (ISS) that can be printed on the ISS 3D printer.
Called NASA Handrail Clamp Assembly Challenge, the aim is to find the best design for a rigid clamp that is used by astronauts on the ISS. The handrail clamp is used by astronauts in a microgravity environment to mount various things.
The HCA design will be printed by the 3D printer onboard ISS and will be named CHAMP (Clamp for Handrail with Additively Manufactured Parts).
NASA is using the GrabCAD community of designers and engineers to find a new design.
Founded in 2010, GrabCAD helps engineers get products to market faster by connecting people, content and technology. The firm offers GrabCAD Workbench, a cloud-based collaboration tool that enables engineers and designers to share, view and manage CAD files and other design data. GrabCAD is also home to a community of more than 1.6 million members from around the world who can access a large public CAD file library as well as connect with other engineers.
GrabCAD was recently acquired by the US-Israeli provider of 3D printing solutions, Stratasys Ltd, for around $100M.
The NASA challenge will be open for submission until 16 February and winners will be announced on 16 March 2015.
Cover: International Space Station.