According to estimates provided by the Pentagon, 3D printing capabilities will be increasingly integrating into the U.S. Army, reported by Devon L. Suits, Army News Service earlier this month.
As 3D printing increases both in the field and at depots, the Army’s Center of Excellence for Additive and Advanced Manufacturing is slated to reach initial operating capability this year at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois.
Lt. Gen. Aundre Piggee, the Army’s deputy chief of staff, G-4, outlined the Army’s current 3D printing capabilities at the 2019 Military Additive Manufacturing Summit and Technology Showcase Feb. 6, in Tampa, Florida.
At the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni, southern Japan, 3D printing is now in use to keep F/A-18 Hornet multirole fighters airborne.
MCAS Iwakuni engineers have devised two products that reduce the time it takes to repair the fighter jets, saving costs for the U.S. Department of Defense. The products help with the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of the fighter jets, covering all tasks carried out to ensure the airworthiness of an flight vehicle.
The 3D printed products include an engine ship kit, designed by the Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12 (MALS 12), and a plastic ring kit that helps the maintenance of the bearings on the F/A-18’s Gatling gun.
FATHOM, a Californian design studio, has used additive manufacturing to create a Modular Logistics Vehicle (MLV) for the United States Marine Corps (USMC).
Frustrated by the unresponsiveness of traditional supply chains, Marines from the 29 Palms base generated the concept of converting standard utility vehicles into customizable transport suited for a diverse range of missions.
This project was facilitated by the Launch Forth platform, as well as Deloitte, and Siemens.
US military researchers have developed a way to use recycled bottles and other refuse materials to 3D-print replacement parts for soldiers in the field.
Military personnel stationed around the world often have a long wait when they need a critical replacement part. Now, the US Army Research Lab (ARL) and the US Marine Corps have partnered to develop a way to kill two birds with one stone by recycling the plastic bottles and bags the military uses and 3D-printing needed materials in the field.
Nicole Zander, a researcher at ARL, and US Marine Corps Capt. Anthony Molnar are working on a joint project to break down recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic into filament to use as a starting material for 3D printers. The material then can be fabricated into plastic parts for radios, canteens, and other items soldiers can use in the field.
Technological advances in production and distribution can strengthen the Navy and Marine Corps aviation parts supply chain the services’ aviation leaders said on Friday.
Improved spare parts logistics systems and 3D printing will increase flight availabilities and decrease costs, Vice Adm. DeWolfe Miller, commander of Naval Air Forces, and Lt. Gen. Steven Rudder, the Marine Corps deputy commandant for aviation, said at a joint appearance Friday at the Maritime Security Dialogue, sponsored by the U.S. Naval Institute and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
A team of U.S. Marines 3D printed a part for the F-35 stealth fighter saving $70,000 in costs for a whole new landing gear door.
The component is a small part mounted on the door pressing it into the latch. It was designed and 3D printed by Marines from Combat Logistics Battalion 31 (CLB-31) in Carderock, Maryland.
Sam Pratt, a mechanical engineer at the Carderock’s Additive Manufacturing Project Office, provided further technical assistance to the team.
Soldiers on the battlefield or at remote bases often have to wait weeks for vital replacement parts. Now scientists report they have found a way to fabricate many of these parts within hours under combat conditions using water bottles, cardboard and other recyclable materials found on base as starting materials for 3D printing. They say this ‘game-changing’ advance could improve operational readiness, reduce dependence on outside supply chains and enhance safety.
The researchers are presenting their work today at the 256th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). ACS, the world’s largest scientific society, is holding the meeting here through Thursday. It features more than 10,000 presentations on a wide range of science topics.
The US military has not shied away from implementing modern manufacturing methods such as 3D printing, but has actually embraced the technology. In fact, the US Air Force has used 3D printing for multiple projects, including components for aircraft and fighter jets, such as the F-35. This is what’s known as a next-generation fighter, and the 388th Maintenance Group of the Hill Air Force Base in Utah recently began 3D printing specific replacement parts for the F-35. Base officials are hoping that the technology will help to lower costs and increase availability.
Many branches of the military have turned to 3D printing to make replacement parts for those very same reasons.
A team of researchers at RMIT University (Melbourne, Australia) is using laser metal deposition technology (a 3D printing technique) to build and repair defense aircraft parts in a two-year collaboration with RUAG Australia (Bayswater, Australia) and the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC; Carlton, Australia).
Laser metal deposition technology feeds metal powder into a laser beam, which when scanned across a surface adds new material in a precise, web-like formation. The metallurgical bond created has mechanical properties similar, or in some cases superior, to those of the original material. “It’s basically a very high-tech welding process where we make or rebuild metal parts layer by layer,” explains Professor Milan Brandt, who is leading the work. He says the concept is proven and prospects for its successful development are extremely positive.
Following a letter from U.S. Senator, Chuck Grassley demanding justification for the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) expenditure on $10,000 military aircraft toilet seat covers, Airforce officials have announced that it will now pay $300 to produce the part thanks to 3D printing.
“You’ll think: there’s no way it costs that,” said Dr. Will Roper, the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics in a recent interview with Defense One.
“It doesn’t, but you’re asking a company to produce it and they’re producing something else. And for them to produce this part for us, they have to quit what they’re making now. They’re losing revenue and profit.”