Deploying labs to battlefields: U.S. Army uses 3D printers for prototypes printing
Imagine a world coming alive directly from a science fiction movie. A world where time machines deport people to the remotest location within a fraction of a second and printers print stain guns, bomb sniffers, and soldiers. Though the former still remains to be a whimsy, the latter has been made possible through the cutting-edge 3D printers. 3D printers have the capability to churn out physical objects, opening up a host of opportunities in the world of digital manufacturing.
Like everyone else, the benefits of 3D printers have attracted the attention of the U.S. Army as well. And they have deployed the potentials of 3D printers to design printable components for rapid prototypes and bomb detectors through plastic and metal pieces. This helps them to create and modify weapons for the battlefield and significantly reduce the time required to produce warfare equipments. Researchers have been using a variety of techniques to churn out new 3D objects. While some 3D printers use laser, others create parts from plastic.
To unleash the potentials of 3D printing to battlefields, U.S. Army has deployed a helicopter-borne rapid prototyping Expeditionary LabsÂ to Afghanistan. The lab built in a 20-foot shipping container, stuffed to the gills with latest tools and equipments, will create and modify weapon for the U.S. Army soldiers. Each Expeditionary Lab contains a 3D printer, a CNC machine, welders, plasma cutters, routers, magnetic-mounted drill presses, jigsaws, circular saws, and electric hacksaws. This 3D printing laboratory will help Rapid Equipping force to iron out bugs in the warfare equipments as quickly as possible.Â Now the engineers and scientists can produce prototypes in hours, something that used to take couple of months due to time-consuming procedures.
Due to its ability to transform digital designs into physical objects, 3D printing has potentially excited military planners. With a bright future that 3D printers behold, it’s just a matter of time before these revolutionary printers make a comfortable entry in every home and school as ‘print-anything’ machines.
Image credit: The Vegan Date