The Innovation Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Production (ICAMP) at Canadore College and Canada Makes are helping ensure Canada’s participation in the next stages of mining in space. Working with Ontario based Deltion Innovations and Atlas Copco, ICAMP introduced its additive manufacturing capability to produce prototype tool ends for a space mining multi-purpose tool, labeled PROMPT (Percussive and Rotary Multi-Purpose Tool). The device would prospect for water, ice and resources on the moon and beyond.
“For obvious reasons, this project was a dream to work on,” said Evan Butler-Jones, applied research lead at ICAMP. “The complexity of this undertaking made it both challenging and exciting. It is thrilling to participate in this small way to Canada’s efforts in developing the space mining industry.”
Canada Makes helped fund the eight-month project through its Metal Additive Demonstration Program. Butler-Jones had this to add, “Canada Makes funding was essential in proving the potential of additive for these tools, and led to further work completing the final parts. The final parts were a hybrid of additive with post machining of certain features.”
Deltion describes the combination drill and rotary multi-use tool as a “space-age Swiss Army knife.” One of the goals is to be able to drill mine for water and ice on the moon. It would also be used in robotic construction, maintenance and repair tasks.
Atlas and Deltion brought the PROMPT concept and tool designs to ICAMP for manufacturing and production. The Centre utilized its additive manufacturing resources, including its 3D metal printer the EOS M290 and computer numerical control equipment, to prototype the commissioned parts.
“Deltion has been working on space mining technologies for almost two decades,” said Dale Boucher, CEO of Deltion Innovations. “The use of additive manufacturing is a means to develop the complex geometries required for the tool ends of PROMPT. We are very pleased with the results of this project and we look forward to a continued collaboration with ICAMP.”
The finalized products were delivered to Deltion Innovations, who will be testing the multi-purpose tool for future deep space applications with an eye on the moon, the asteroids and even Mars.