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ESA showcases printed metal parts fit for space

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October 15, 2013 08:11 AM EST | AP


BERLIN — BERLIN (AP) — The European Space Agency says it has developed a technology that allows metal parts for spacecraft and nuclear reactors to be "printed" as a single piece.

In recent years three-dimensional printing has become commonplace in manufacturing. But so far this method has largely been limited to making plastic objects.

ESA says its metal-printing technology can be used to create more complex shapes than with traditional techniques and leaves almost no waste material.

The Paris-based space agency presented several sample objects capable of withstanding temperatures of up to 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,832 Fahrenheit) at an event in London on Tuesday.

It aims to make the parts even more durable in the coming years.