While the hype surrounding 3D Printing would lead one to believe that it’s easy to 3D Print anything, the truth is that when we get an original design file life is so much easier. NASA has stepped up to the plate and is providing .stl files of some of their space craft and planetary models in formats for 3D Printing.
On the NASA webpage with the 3D Print ready- files however, they do caution that 3D Printing is not an exact science – yet – and that you may need to make modifications to get the print to work. NASA has an open source eWorkplace to share your 3D Printing horror stories and the fixes you devise. That said, starting with the basic design is a huge help and takes hours off reverse engineering from a photo.
I’m personally planning to try the Juno space craft pictured here…and will let everyone know how easy or challenging it turns out to be.