This project is solving the 3D Printing Contest challenge.

An original conceptual 3D design of an exploration rover wheel, suitable for printing, in the context of a more ambitious project called “Self-Replicating Rover based on 3D printing technologies (REPROV)” has been carried out and physically printed for the ESA 3D Printing contest. It should be noted that some of the ESA projects include a Rover as a key element (i.e. ExoMars).

The potential exploitation of REPROV in space could be impressive in areas such as mining, space bases and colonization. Even though in present and future state-of-the-art the rover couldn’t fulfill the mission of replicating the totality of its parts, some of them would be transported from Earth saving a great percentage of the total weight of a fleet of self-replicating machines.

Given the intrinsic difficulty and complexity of a complete REPROV design the contest team considered that is out of the scope of the “ESA 3D Printing contest” and for this reason only a wheel design of the own REPROV has been presented to the contest (it could be considered as a replicating part or partial REPROV replication).

Some of the engineering design requirements of the exploration rover wheel that have been addressed are the following:

  • Wheel-soil interaction (considering characteristic regolith properties)
  • Skidding and traction considering reduced gravity conditions -i.e. Mars, Moon or other natural satellites- (see tread pattern)
  • Stiffness and damping (notice curved spokes with variable width design)
  • Very low-weight (optimized weight under constraints)
  • Simplicity of manufacturing

Project Information

License: GNU General Public License
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