It may be a little insane for people to imagine, but the next time a bomb is dropped somewhere in the world by the United States military, it could consist of parts that were printed out using a 3D printer. The goal for the United States armed forces is to use every bit of innovation they can get their hands on – and 3D printing is presenting them with plenty of such opportunities. The reason why the military makes such a firm commitment towards 3D printing is because they are aware of its tremendous usefulness and upside.
The military is using 3D printing to come up with lighter and easier to manufacture versions of grenades, grenade launchers, plane parts and bomb accessories. The military is a firm believer in the fact that using 3D printing technology will allow them to improve the performance of their weapons systems in the battlefield. Another reason why 3D printing is so popular is because it allows them to print out items that are needed in different situations – on the spot. That is in stark contrast to the past, when the military either needed a massive stock of those items on location or had to wait for a supply dump that could take days or weeks.
Imagine a situation where the military is embroiled in a conflict halfway around the world. The troops have all the major items they need to hold their position or go into enemy territory. But there are always cases of some items failing, getting destroyed or needing replacing. In the past, it meant having to wait for new supply to reach that location. With a 3D printer, those items could be printed out back at the base, and easily given to troops that were going out into nearby territories.
There are three main objectives the army has always wanted achieved through 3D printing. The first is already well underway – using 3D printing to make or replace parts that already exist. That is already being used around the world, and at home bases. The second aspect of this project is to use 3D printing to prototype new parts. It is much easier to create a prototype using 3D printing, instead of going through a full manufacturing process. 3D printing can also help them eliminate the multi-part assembly line of how most products are manufactured.
The United States military also wants to use 3D printing to create parts that do not currently exist. 3D printing may be useful in breaking boundaries that manufacturing has not managed. Maybe some parts are just not manufacturable through existing technologies, or they would cost too much money as compared to their use. But with 3D printing, the price of getting those items created is much lower, which means they become viable. These items could be anything from new technologies to better parts that go into existing machines, tech devices, planes or bombs. The military rarely reveals specifics about how they are using 3D printing, unless that tech has some commercial use.
Technology and effective use of resources has become even more important than personnel when it comes to fighting the new types of battles and warfare the military could face. More advanced tech over gives the military a built-in advantage, whenever they are going into combat. And having 3D printing technology onside only increases that advantage. And when 3D printers become more versatile, effective, affordable and useful, we can be sure the United States military will be at the forefront of using that technology to help them defend the nation from any type of threat that might exist.