When the Perseverance rover touches down on Mars on February 18, it will carry with it almost a dozen metal 3D printed parts.
Five of those parts will be found in an device critical to the rover’s mission: the Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry, or PIXL. Mounted at the end of the rover’s cantilever arm, the PIXL will analyze rock and soil samples on the Red Planet’s surface to help assess the potential for life there. The 3D printed parts of the PIXL are its front and back cover, mounting frame, X-ray bench, and bench support.
At first glance, they look like relatively simple parts, a few thin-walled housing pieces and brackets that might be made from formed sheet metal. But the stringent requirements of this instrument (and the rover in general) proved to be a match for additive manufacturing (AM) paired with extensive postprocessing steps. 2021 Will Be Dramatic, Too — How Is Your Tooling? Metalworking Index Signals Slowing Expansion in November 2020 Function First Engineers […]
Above: PepsiCo food, snack, and beverage product line-up/Source: PepsiCo PepsiCo turned to tooling with 3D printing...