Astronaut Toolkit

This is a 2-part lesson. In the first part, students are introduced to the brief history of 3D printing in space and ISS (International Space Station) equipment. The lesson challenges students to design their own screwdriver bit or wrench for an astronaut’s toolkit. They will print their design using the 3D printer.
A teacher-led class evaluation of the completed tools follows. Students test and evaluate their designs, discussing what has been learned, what improvements could be made, and what other tools might be useful to have on the International Space Station.
Design and TechnologyMathematics
Years | Grades
10th Grade | 14-15 years11th Grade | 15-16 years12th Grade | 16-18 years13th Grade | 18-19 years
Lesson 1: 45 minutes Print time: ~ 20 minutes Lesson 2: 45 minutes

Play 0:51


  • Understand the challenges faced when 3D printing in micro-gravity
  • Design a set of tools suitable for use in micro-gravity environments
  • Manufacture a set of astronaut tools suitable for 3D printing

Tools and equipment

Each student workgroup needs:
  • Laptop/computer with mouse and internet access
  • Set of example bolt .STL files
  • Pen or pencil
  • Astronaut’s toolkit worksheet

Teacher needs:
  • 3D printer and PLA filament
  • Laptop/computer with mouse, internet access and DeeControl layering software for the be3D eDee 3D printer
  • Set of example bolt and block .STL files

Class access to:
  • TinkerCAD®
  • DeeControl layering software
  • BE3D eDee 3D printer

Skill requirements

To participate in the lesson, students should be able to:
  • Use TinkerCAD or similar CAD software at an intermediate level
  • Enter the correct 3D print settings in DeeControl layering software
  • Use BE3D eDee 3D printer

Astronaut Toolkit Walkthrough
Locked 3:42

3D models overview

  • Total print time 16 hours
  • Total filament 36 m
  • Additional non-printable components
  • Printed all at once
Universal screwdriver for bits
  • 4 hours
  • 6.3 m
Bolt block
  • 7 hours
  • 21 m
Outer hexagonal wrench
  • 40 minutes
  • 1.5 m
  • 20 minutes
  • 0.4 m
  • 15 minutes
  • 0.29 m
Note: Values are calculated for one set of models.

Lesson resources

  • Lesson plan
  • Worksheet
  • Walkthrough
  • Walkthrough video
  • Presentation
  • 3D models
  • 3D print instructions
  • Curriculum Alignment: ISTE standard compliant