University Rover Challenge

Zortrax 3D Printing Supports Makers in Astronautics


Polish 3D printer manufacturer Zortrax support the Students’ Space Association (SSA) to use 3D printing to reach the stars by providing 3D printed parts.

They said in a recent blog post: “We believe that creativity and innovation are the paths leading to the future of technology. But we also know that improvements take not only vision, hard work and commitment, but that there won’t be any changes possible without some of the fundamental elements. One of them being knowledge, the other, more mundane but just as crucial, funds.”

They claim these are also the reasons why the recently supported incorporating 3D printing technology into education in Poland.

They’ve now listed some of the other ways in which they have been supporting innovative ideas of Students’ Space Association (SSA), a group who are engineering and developing vehicles capable of exploring Mars.

What do the SSA do?


SSA has been building a consecutive line of Mars rovers and one of their recent projects is Ares 2, a four-wheel rover built for the University Rover Challenge 2015 competition.

To shake things up, they decided to use 3D printing technology. So Zortrax have been supporting them with 3D printing components required for improving the rover.

Some of these components include holders for ultrasonic sensors, wheels and motor drivers cases used to protect the drivers from environmental factors.

All of the parts were printed using a Zortrax M200 on Z-ULTRAT, a material which allows manufacturing components that are durable and light.


As well as the rovers, the SSA have been working on many different projects too. One of the most interesting being BuLMA – an acronym for Balloon micro Lifeform-and-Meteorite Assembler. The purpose of this is to examine the microorganisms and micrometeorites found in the stratosphere.

The way this experiment works is by using two aerodynamic cyclones 3D printed on Zortrax M200, in which the drawn-in air will swirl.

Once particles have been caught, they will be pushed onto walls and will be held by magnet. electrodes with electrical field and special lumpy membranes. These caught micrometeorites and dust particles will be examined by SSA team and microbiologists.

The goal of the experiment is to define the particles’ origin and composition to determine how different the stratospheric microorganisms are from those found on Earth.

If this interests you, make sure to keep your eye out for the 2016 edition of University Rover Challenge which is coming soon.