The International Space Station has announced that it has an operational 3D printer on board. The printer is a team effort by Made In Space, a 3D printer company, and Lowe's, the hardware supply company. Made In Space owns the 3D printer while Lowe's will use the printer to print it's branded tools used for commercial consumption.
The advantage of having a 3D printer in space is two-fold. First it eliminates shipping costs for supplies needed to be shipped up to the space station. Having a 3D printer available means the crew on the space station can print out whatever parts they need. The second advantage is that even NASA scientists cannot predict and plan every scenario that could happen in space so having a 3D printer reduces the risks of part failure and could save lives.