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US military invests in 3D printing on the frontline
De Zeen ^ | 12 Nov 2012 | De Zeen

Posted on 11/15/2012 7:39:19 AM PST by Theoria

News: the US military is developing its own 3D printers for the frontline which will enable soldiers to quickly and cheaply produce spare parts for their weapons and equipment.

By bringing the new technology to the battlefield, troops will be able to produce spare parts for sensitive equipment, such as GPS receivers and air drones, without having to wait weeks for new deliveries.

“Parts for these systems break frequently, and many of them are produced overseas, so there’s a long lead time for replacement parts,” said operations research analyst D. Shannon Berry in a statement.

“Instead of needing a massive manufacturing logistics chain, a device that generates replacement parts is now small and light enough to be easily carried in a backpack or on a truck,” he added.

The Future Warfare centre at Space and Missile Defense Command in Alabama has been developing its own 3D printers as an alternative to the more expensive printers available commercially. Early versions of its printer have cost just under $700 each, compared to at least $2,000 for commercial models.

The 3D printers are now being rolled out to the frontline in shipping containers that act as mobile production labs. The first of the $2.8m labs, which contains 3D printers and CNC machines to make parts from aluminium, plastic and steel, was sent to Afghanistan in July this year. While there are no plans to print weapons from scratch, the labs could produce spare parts to repair them, according to Pete Newell, head of the US army’s Rapid Equipping Force.

The military developments mirror similar advances claimed by amateur gun enthusiasts in recent months, with a group of libertarian activists in the US releasing blueprints for 3D printed weapons, while another hobbyist announced the successful firing of a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle using 3D-printed parts.

Following that news, Ronen Kadushin, a pioneer of the open design movement, told Dezeen that advances in 3D printing could allow people to “print ammunition for an army”. “Nobody will kill anybody with a 3D printed gun soon, I hope. But in the future, you don’t know,” he warned.

The technology has also been taking off in civilian manufacturing, with President Obama investing $30m of government money in a national 3D printing centre in Youngstown, Ohio this August. The National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute is part of a military-led public-private partnership to research the possibilities of mass-producing machine parts.

We’ve been covering the latest developments in 3D printing as the technology proliferates through the design world. In a recent interview with Dezeen, Janne Kyttanen, co-founder of design studio Freedom of Creation and creative director of 3D printer company 3D Systems, predicted that consumers would soon be able to save money by printing products at home rather than shopping for them, while MakerBot Industries CEO and co-founder Bre Pettis told Dezeen that cheap 3D printers would place manufacturing back in the home, as it was before the industrial revolution.


TOPICS: Military/Veterans
KEYWORDS: 3dprinting; defense; military; printing

1 posted on 11/15/2012 7:39:22 AM PST by Theoria
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To: Theoria
US military invests in 3D printing on the frontline

I'm going to print up some extra ammo and then hop in my Chevy Volt to go fight the taliban. /s

May be viable some day, but with a $16 Trillion debt I think it would be best if we let private industry perfect it first.

2 posted on 11/15/2012 7:44:11 AM PST by The Sons of Liberty (Remember the Heroic SEALs of Benghazi and DEMAND a Full Accounting!!!!)
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To: Theoria

-—yeah—quick, somebody send me the app allowing .223, .308, 9 mm and .45AACP to be run off on my state of the art Canon Pixma-—(sarc)


3 posted on 11/15/2012 7:48:08 AM PST by rellimpank (--don't believe anything the media or government says about firearms or explosives--)
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To: Theoria

See if it will print of some “Rules of Engagement” to allow us to win the fight...


4 posted on 11/15/2012 7:50:24 AM PST by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - they want to die for islam and we want to kill them)
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To: 2banana

Perhaps a ‘Declaration of War’ is in the feed tray as well.


5 posted on 11/15/2012 7:51:30 AM PST by Theoria (Romney is a Pyrrhic victory.)
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To: Theoria

Saw these years ago.


6 posted on 11/15/2012 7:52:51 AM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: The Sons of Liberty

3D printing works good for cheap plastic pieces that break. Right now that’s about it.


7 posted on 11/15/2012 7:53:09 AM PST by BipolarBob (The first thirty years of my childhood were horrible.)
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In a perfect world, you could rent time on a 3D printer and print your own(3D printer).


8 posted on 11/15/2012 7:54:20 AM PST by RBStealth
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To: BipolarBob

Can someone explain 3-D printing to me. I’ve read various articles on it, but I don’t see a big difference between current molds, dies, and other older devices used in manufacturing.
There must be something I’m missing.


9 posted on 11/15/2012 7:57:19 AM PST by jayrunner
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To: BipolarBob
3D printing works good for cheap plastic pieces that break. Right now that’s about it.

That's just not true. 3D printing produces strong, lightweight parts that can see long-term use under harsh field conditions.

BTDT.

10 posted on 11/15/2012 7:57:42 AM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: jayrunner

3-D printing is additive - you’re not taking a block of material and machining it down, and you’re not making a mold.

You can build very complex shapes more easily, and with a smaller and cheaper machine, than milling something down subtractively.


11 posted on 11/15/2012 8:04:54 AM PST by Strategerist
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To: jayrunner
I don’t see a big difference between current molds, dies, and other older devices used in manufacturing

The biggest advantage I see is the ability to make changes with only software, add thickness to a place discovered after use to be a weak link.

Also if economic to produce, low volume items cost little more than high volume items.

12 posted on 11/15/2012 8:07:25 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: jayrunner
I don’t see a big difference between current molds, dies, and other older devices used in manufacturing

The biggest advantage I see is the ability to make changes with only software, add thickness to a place discovered after use to be a weak link.

Also if economic to produce, low volume items cost little more than high volume items.

13 posted on 11/15/2012 8:08:34 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Strategerist

Thank you for the explanations re 3-D printing.


14 posted on 11/15/2012 8:25:42 AM PST by jayrunner
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To: Theoria

The printers will be cheap but the “ink” will be super expensive following the HP business model.


15 posted on 11/15/2012 9:58:38 AM PST by gunnut
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To: gunnut
The printers will be cheap but the “ink” will be super expensive following the HP business model.

My ink cost more that what I paid for the printer

16 posted on 11/15/2012 10:10:00 AM PST by piroque ("In times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act")
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To: jayrunner
3-D printing is also known as rapid prototyping.

It's a fast and easy way to make one of something, rather than having to create molds or dies.

But if you want to make 1,000, then molds or dies are the only way to go.

17 posted on 11/15/2012 10:34:26 AM PST by Yo-Yo (Is the /sarc tag really necessary?)
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To: Theoria; Revolting cat!; Slings and Arrows

How soon before someone is caught making some 3-D printed porn?


18 posted on 11/15/2012 12:58:24 PM PST by a fool in paradise (America 2013 - STUCK ON STUPID)
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To: gunnut

How frequently will these printers jam?


19 posted on 11/15/2012 1:04:37 PM PST by a fool in paradise (America 2013 - STUCK ON STUPID)
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To: a fool in paradise

I expect it to happen before they get caught for cloning people for sex slaves.


20 posted on 11/15/2012 1:11:26 PM PST by Theoria (Romney is a Pyrrhic victory.)
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To: BipolarBob
3D printing works good for cheap plastic pieces that break. Right now that’s about it.

I can see some immediate applications for relief/contour maps and overlays, and bringing the sandtable into the XXI Century.

Vehicle air filters could be another possiblity, as could be tearaway protective lenses over vehicle headlights, armored vehicle sighting and night vision equipment, and other equipment that really shouldn't be etched or scoured by wind-driven sand or covered in mud.


21 posted on 11/20/2012 11:06:28 AM PST by archy
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To: Theoria
I expect it to happen before they get caught for cloning people for sex slaves.

It better happen quick, then.

22 posted on 11/20/2012 11:08:11 AM PST by archy
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To: a fool in paradise
How frequently will these printers jam?

Keep your printer jets cleaned, Private! Your life could depend on this equipment in combat....

But don't worry, soldier. The taxpayers have provided you with the very best equipment China can produce....

23 posted on 11/20/2012 11:10:12 AM PST by archy
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To: BipolarBob; Squantos
3D printing works good for cheap plastic pieces that break. Right now that’s about it.

Might be a couple of possibilities in EOD applications as well. Oh, Squantos....

24 posted on 11/20/2012 11:11:59 AM PST by archy
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