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Solar Sinter Sand Spreader System

Spacebots | Projects

  • The original idea was to make a rover that could repair and change itself by 3D printing new parts from local soil/regolith. This has 5 main parts: intaking the material, distributing it in thin and flat layers on the print bed, catching sunlight and turning it into a laser, directing that laser to print parts, and moving those parts to attach them to the rover. This last seemed especially hard, so we revised this plan to be a machine similar to a 3D printer usable by humans in an extraterrestrial colony. Others have created devices to sinter sand with sunlight, but unlike a 3D printer, they needed to constantly add and smooth the sand, making it a very involved process. We decided to focus on automating this, especially the distribution into accurately thin, smooth layers. After considering many possible designs, including printing outer walls to support the inner sand and moving the print bed up and down inside a set of walls, we decided on a rotating hopper lifted by a threaded rod.