Archives for the category: 3D printers and the military

July 13, 2013

Why 3D Printing Is a Great Teaching Tool for At-Risk Youth

Freestate_Tom_cadet_point_042713-300x200.jpg A 3D Printing class organized by YouthQuest for at-risk youths proves a success beyond expectations.

quotemarksright.jpgThe Cadets in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) project were all too familiar with failure. They were at the Freestate Academy, which is part of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program, because they’d made the mistake of giving up on school. Besides the general lack of motivation that’s typical in adolescents, these kids were in trouble because of substance abuse, pregnancy and many of the other problems that are common for at-risk youth. The Academy was, as Tom puts it, “their last chance.”

Although the cadets were “extremely excited” about being chosen from among more than 100 classmates to take part in the project, says their teacher Tom Meeks, they were “afraid to fail.” They had failed often in the past – and had given up.

“In 3D printing, what they learned was it’s OK to fail as long as you see that failure as a way to make changes and go on to success. And that’s what they did over and over again.”

A few weeks ago, as they prepared to graduate from Freestate, the students met with Tom to talk about what they’d learned in the 3D printing class.

“Every one of them said that it changed their life in some way,” he recalls, “It changed their attitude toward life, the way they looked at life, the way they were going to go forward and meet challenges in the future. Every one of them.quotesmarksleft.jpg

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emily | 7:58 AM | permalink

May 26, 2013

3-D Printing Could Revolutionize U.S. Navy

sulsa-drone.jpg The U.S. Navy could soon use 3D printing to shake up traditional supply chains and revolutionize maritime strategy. TechNewsDaily reports.

quotemarksright.jpgAccording to Lieutenant Commander Michael Llenza, author of a recent commentary on the uses of 3D printing by the U.S. Navy, advances in this burgeoning technology could change the way sailors and Marines build and repair aircraft, obtain ammunition, design shelters, produce food and treat sickness and injury.

In the words of Neil Gershenfeld of MIT, 3D printing allows us to make "things into data and data back into things." For the U.S. Navy these "things" include spare parts for aircraft and printable drones. "Instead of actual parts, a ship might carry 3D printers and bags of various powdered ingredients and simply download the design files needed to print items as necessary," wrote Llenza.

According to Llenza, a Virginia Tech lab has already designed and printed a UAV that can be folded up and stored in a backpack (UAV's are unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones). And the University of Virginia recently printed a UAV controlled by an Android phone and used to shoot aerial imagery.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more. Image above: SULSA, the world's first "printed" aircraft. CREDIT: University of Southampton

emily | 5:20 PM | permalink

May 18, 2013

In Tomorrow’s Wars, Battles Will Be Fought With a 3-D Printer

420832.jpg According to Lt. Cmdr. Michael Llenza, who sketched out a scenario of American forces printing out drones from the field in the latest Armed Forces Journal, 3-D printing could arguably “upend the way we think about supply chains, sea basing and even maritime strategy.” And by we, Llenza doesn’t just mean Americans. The Chinese military is already bragging about how they are printing parts for their next-gen aircraft. Wired reports.

quotemarksright.jpgAside from drones — which have already been printed — ammunition could potentially be produced with the machines, as the casings would be “relatively easy,” he writes. (The Pentagon would just have to find a way to produce the propellants.) Additive manufacturing also “offers a new way to think about building shelters or other structures on a beachhead or forward operating base.” The hope, as the theory goes, is that large-scale investments in 3-D printing could take a lot of strain off the supply lines modern military forces depend on to survive.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article in Wired and in Armed Forces Journal: Print when ready, Gridley 3-D printing will streamline the Navy’s supply chain — and much more BY LT. CMDR. MICHAEL LLENZA

emily | 8:25 AM | permalink

May 10, 2013

White House looks to 3D printing with $200 million plan for military

Screen Shot 2013-05-10 at 8.05.53 AM.png The White House is looking to 3D printing as a model to revitalize the American manufacturing industry and to help design new weapons and equipement for the military. The Verge reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThat's the basis of a new $200 million public-private initiative announced by the White House Thursday morning, which will create three new advanced manufacturing centers around the country.

The White House is opening a competitive bidding process to universities and companies to host these centers, but all three will be modeled after a 3D printing institute launched in Ohio late last year, also funded by the government.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

White House Press release: Obama Administration Launches Competition for Three New Manufacturing Innovation Institutes

emily | 8:01 AM | permalink

January 14, 2013

US army sent 2nd mobile 3D printing labs to Afghanistan Jan 7

The U.S. Army's Rapid Equipping Force (REF) deployed the second mobile laboratory to the war zone in Afghanistan on January 7, 2013. Fox News reports via

quotemarksright.jpgREF is able to set up mobile labs at remote operating bases equipped with 3D printers, CNC mills, laser cutters and water cutters for fabricating parts on the spot.

The mobile lab is a 20-foot container, costs $2.8 million, that can be transported by truck or helicopter to any location.

"Soldiers walk into the lab and say, 'this is my problem.' The PhDs then do the work and show it to the soldiers. The soldiers give them feedback," and they work together tinkering with the tech until it is exactly fit for purpose, explained Westley Brin, product manager with the REF.quotesmarksleft.jpg

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-- US army builds its own 3D printer

-- Just one more thing. US military working on backpack-sized 3D printer

emily | 9:28 PM | permalink

November 12, 2012

Just one more thing. US military working on backpack-sized 3D printer

backpack_1466801c.jpeg According to ZDNet, the US military has developed a cheap 3D printer that it says could make it easier to print spare parts for soldiers in the battlefield.

quotemarksright.jpgThe country's armed forces already have a 3D printing lab in action in Southern Afghanistan, but that setup uses a shipping container. The newer printer can fit in a backpack and also costs just $695, according to the US Army.quotesmarksleft.jpg

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Related: - US army builds its own 3D printer

emily | 5:00 PM | permalink

November 9, 2012

US army builds its own 3D printer

_64037359_size1.jpegThe US military is developing its own 3D printer that it can use to produce spare parts for spacecraft. The BBC reports.

quotemarksright.jpgBy putting 3D printers behind the front line it hopes to be able to produce spares more cheaply and quickly than it can get them from manufacturers.

The army embarked on the project to produce its own printer as commercial devices were too expensive.

Early versions of the printer cost $695 compared to $3,000 for a commercial model.

The 3D printer has been developed by the Future Warfare centre at the US Army's Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC) in Alabama.quotesmarksleft.jpg

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emily | 4:06 PM | permalink