3D printed materials are becoming of more interest in engineering as well as space applications. A SPHERES payload (Slosh) was the first to use a 3D printed material called Ultem 9085. This material is planned to be used in more SPHERES payloads and the SPHERES engineering team felt with a new material and manufacturing process that more research was needed to fully understand this new process. The SPHERES engineering team, led by Daniel Aguilar, Sean Christensen, and Emmet Fox, performed various tests on 3D printed Ultem 9085 samples.
The purpose of the test was mainly to focus on reinforcement of the material with impregnated epoxies and conformal coatings and to witness the effect each had on the Ultem material. The SPHERES team experimented with various epoxies in order to improve the strength and deflection properties of the material. A three point beam test was conducted on samples impregnated with different epoxies. All of the test were filmed, this footage in addition to post inspection allowed the team to evaluate break characteristics and foreign object debris (FOD) creation to evaluate risk factors for space products. This knowledge was distributed within the SPHERES community to apply to designs utilizing Ultem 9085 3D printed products. Lastly, the team also tested the
Universal Docking Port (UDP) Enclosure Top for structural credibility. The goal of the test was to validate computer simulations produced by Aurora Flight Sciences (AFS) and compare theory to experimental results. A published NASA report will be forthcoming.