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Not just buy stuff from a store, but actually build stuff. For example, I grow grapes in my back yard, make home-made red wine. When I was active in that club, I got a coal blacksmith's forge. I made my own armour from scrap metal, but the forge was to make knives and swords. I won't claim to be good at it, the current show "Forged in Fire" makes me think I should fire the thing up again.
Those guys make Damascus look easy. At home I cook from scratch. Have made home-made soap, trying to find a recipe using things we can grow in a greenhouse. It's not an assumption. You can't make the things you need. You can make things that you don't need, like metal brackets. Please give the details on how you would use a forge or 3D printer to make any of the above listed critical life support components?
You think that we don't need to wait years before we can make heavy and simple components on Mars? That's because to you it's important, it's status, it's being in the modern age instead of the stone age. To people on Mars, it's a lot of work for things that don't provide oxygen, food, or water, so it's a waste of time and energy. How quickly do I think we will establish a permanent base?
I don't know when they will start but it should start with a crew of 4 and only grow in small groups of 4 and each new crew has to bring two Moxie's, a WAVAR unit, a thin solar array, and it's own buried habitat that they would have to build. You can't just send people and expect the colonists already on Mars to eat less and share their food with the new people. Eventually we need to ship the machines necessary to make the things we need on Mars?
How many machines do you think you need just to make a Moxie unit? Let's see, you need to make thin steel, so a big forge, a steel rolling machine, and you need to gather and separate iron oxide and alloy elements somehow. You need a welder, a milling machine, a bearing press, a drill press, a sheet metal cutting machine, a bandsaw, and all of that only gets you the Moxie case and the tanks. Nobody is saying the initial expeditions would have production? No, the exploration teams that go to Mars and come home won't have any production but the settlement shouldn't either.
Here's why, having one or two machines doesn't do anything. If you want real production you have to have many machines, you need a big forge, a steel rolling machine, a plate steel cutting machine, a bandsaw, a drill press, a welder, a wire making machine, and you need all the materials separated in containers, and all of those machines only get you steel products, not electronics or electric motors or filters or zeolite panels. Did you ever take wood shop or metal shop in high school? How many machines and tools did they have?
Eventually Mars should have production? Even then, they will need periodic resupply shipments of spare parts like acid plates for rebuilding batteries, new filters for the Moxie and WAVAR, new bearings for vacuum pumps, replacement electric motors for all the fans and rovers, magnetrons and waveguides for the microwaves, electronic motherboards, laptop computers, sensors, CO2 absorbent, womens sanitary items, and probably a hundred other things I can't think of.
Dook, it sounds like you're imagining the government paying for a Mars base for the next few centuries, until it suddenly becomes a colony Dook's claims about our inability to 3D print various components needs testing. He needs to specify the particular items - then we can test that against what is already being produced. Personally, I am amazed at what can now be produced by 3D printers.
But they only part of the story. The Mars community will be able to use electrolysis, heating etc. Just about anything done in big industry can be done on a smaller scale, just as you can have a big steam locomotive or a tiny one. Someone is going to pay for a colony on Mars, either the government or SpaceX or a combination of both. Were you under the impression that a colony on Mars could trade with the Earth and pay for itself? There's just no way.
Name one thing that you can produce on Mars for about one hundred times cheaper than you can make it on the Earth. With Mars Direct we can afford to launch resupply missions to Mars once a year and then every 15 years or so when Mars is closest we can launch a new crew of 4 in a Mars Hab with two mini-Moxies and a WAVAR for life support, food, water, and a separate launch of a new buried habitat that they would have to build to expand the base. Are you under the impression that Earth will be willing over the next century to pay to keep a Mars base afloat that won't even manufacture basic items for itself?
Not going to happen. The cost of shipping to Antarctica is peanuts compared to Mars - and if it gets down to similar levels, then the space cadets will be rejoicing before loading up the freighter to establish a new colony. I've specified the particular items that need to be produced many times. Look at post You're ignoring the facts because you don't know what a 3D printer can and can't do. You've assumed they can do way more than they really can.
There are robot diggers? Yeah, someone has to drive the vehicle to the spot and turn it on before it can dig. CNC machines mill solid metal, that's great for making metal brackets out of solid blocks of metal. Having a bunch of metal brackets on Mars does not increase your population because people can't eat brackets or breathe them or drink them. CAD design is fantastic for designing.
I took a CAD class in college. On Mars they wouldn't need CAD because if they did have a 3D printer every component in every machine on Mars would already be saved as a CAD file either in the 3D printer itself or on the crews laptop computers.
The problem is that the 3D printer can only make the vent tubes for the Moxie, that's it. Just about anything that can be done in big industry can be done on a smaller scale? Okay, but you need a specific machine to do different tasks. You need a drill press, a cutting machine, a pressure roller, a welder, a forge, and having those things just get you metal components. How many metal components does it take before you can add one person to a colony on Mars?
What is the new person going to breath, drink, and eat? This is in fact a problem, one that has been brought up numerous times on this board and never satisfactorily answered. Even under optimistic scenarios, it is difficult to foresee Earth-Mars transport costs dropping below several hundred dollars per kg. Sending things back to Earth won't be cheap either.
What could a colony possibly sell that could pay for its very expensive imports? Trinkets and souvenirs aren't going to do the trick. It needs to be something that the entire world needs and will pay a bucket load of cash for. My own pet favourite is solar power satellites. Could we adapt O'Neill's vision to Mars? The Martian atmosphere is thin enough that a mass driver should be able to punch through it.
Maybe we manufacture the satellites in Mars orbit and use reaction engines to ship them back to Earth orbit. This sort of project would require enormous infrastructure investment, but as far as I can see, it is the only product that has any chance of being sold a sufficient profit and in sufficient volume to pay for Mars colonisation. Am I under the impression that the Earth will be willing over the next century to pay to keep a Mars base afloat?
Are you under the impression that we would leave them to die? We spent money on the Space Shuttle and it blew up twice, yet, we still kept flying it for years and years. The Mars colony will manufacture basic items for itself, they're called oxygen, water, and food.
What necessary thing are you going to make with your metal? The cost of shipping to Antarctica is peanuts compared to Mars? A Mars colony is affordable and possible if you keep it simple. If you ship 3D printers and forges and manufacturing equipment to Mars then it's not because they can't make life support equipment. Louis, why don't you do this, send an E-mail to a 3D printer company and ask them if their 3D printer can make any of the following components: Electric motor Magnetron Wave guide Metal tank, unpressurized and pressurized Electronics motherboard, a computer hard drive, computer RAM, or integrated circuits Vacuum pump Sensors Condenser Solar cell or solar array Batteries or the acid plates in a battery.
Might be less for nuclear I think you will need substantial PV and probably methane as well. Apart from the ball bearings and shaft, our homopolar generator prototypes are 3D printed because it costs too much to have a machine shop mill the parts. The bearings are ceramic and expensive.
The shaft is carbon steel, but could be plastic at the low speeds we're turning it at. The permanent magnets would be nearly impossible to make on Mars.
I have no idea what you'd need a magnetron or wave guide for, unless you're still stuck on using WAVAR. It's blatantly obvious that there's a lot more water in the ground than the atmosphere and the energy required to extract it is much lower. Google "Voxel 8" to see 3D printed electronics. Voxel 8 machines 3D print circuit boards, antennas, pressure transducers. All microchips are 3D printed as is and so are thin film solar arrays. It's possible to repair electronics using a 3D printer if the electrical connectors on the circuit board break without soldering.
The material quantities in question are tiny, so they can obviously be brought from Earth at low relative cost.
Using conductive inks with graphene added to them, circuitry can be inked onto flexible substrates, rather than hard and heavier PCB boards. Rocket engine combustion chambers, propellant injectors, and nozzles are 3D printed, as are turbine blades in turbo pumps because machining turbine blades from billets takes weeks and printing takes hours, with almost no material waste.
Rocket engines are super high pressure pressure vessels. If you can print rocket engine parts pressurized to hundreds of atmospheres, then you can also print low pressure metal storage tanks. It's also possible to repair these items with 3D printers in a process analogous to welding.
The main component of a generator is the copper wiring. Where are you going to get the copper from on Mars? Are you going to wrap the copper wiring by hand? You need backup magnetrons and wave guides for the habitat microwave and two backups for the WAVAR unit. There is a lot more water in the ground than the atmosphere? There is but it's frozen and mixed with salt, frozen CO2, and it's deep. The atmosphere is at our base. The Voxel 8 is a circuit printer.
It will make chips. It won't make large metal components. You and Louis keep linking me to machines that make one particular thing and you're trying to say that because it's called a 3D printer that it can make everything that any other 3D printer can make. It doesn't work like that.
There are different kinds of 3D printers. And instead of shipping this Voxel 8 machine to Mars we could ship a one thousand year supply of chips to Mars. Rocket engines can be 3D printed?
Not with a Voxel 8 they can't. That is a different 3D printer. They're not the same machine, they may use the same process but it takes different machines to make different things. Where are you going to get the titanium from on Mars? And the settlers on Mars will have too many rocket engines already sitting around in the Mars Habs that landed them there and the supply landers. Dook is obsessed with 3D printing.
I think he believes the only manufacturing possible on Mars must be done that way. A 3D printer is automated, doesn't require skill. Just plug select your design, fill the hoppers, turn it on and wait for it to finish. That tells me he's never made anything.
Ever fabricated anything out of wood, plastic, metal? Ever operated a lathe? Ever designed and etched a printed circuit board by hand? My first modem was a baud Hayes external, but for one computer I designed a circuit board for a dial-up modem, hand etched a 2 sided board, hand drilled holes for integrated components, hand soldered everything in place.
GW Johnson has pointed out some parts can be 3D printed, others cannot. Fine, we aren't restricted to 3D printing on Mars. We can use normal tools.
For an earlier computer I fabricated a back plate with a connectors for printer and serial port. I used a hand drill to cut holes for the DB25 connector, used a hack saw to cut the rough shape, then a file to finish the shape. For mounting points I used a drill, and tap-and-die set to tap threads into the steel plate. None of this was 3D printed, none was CNC, it was all done with hand tools. My argument is that it's a waste of rocket fuel to send one to Mars because it can't make life support equipment.
A 3D printer doesn't require skill, just fill the hopper? Sounds like you're the one who doesn't know about manufacturing and fabrication. What size particle do you put in the hopper? Fabrication of tubular tissue constructs by centrifugal casting of cells suspended in an in situ crosslinkable hyaluronan-gelatin hydrogel.
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