Tag Archives: military

Top 10 Countdown: Most Popular 3D Printing Stories in September 2012

Cross Necklace 3D Printing Celebrities

Here are the top 10 most popular stories On 3D Printing brought you in September 2012.

10. Interview: Protos Eyewear Combines Fashion, Tech, and 3D Printing

9. The Variable Cross: Create Your Own 3D Printed Cross Pendant Necklace

8. Unique 3D Printed Art Featured at the 3D Print Show in London

7. 3D Printing Mobile Labs: A New Combat Strategy for the U.S. Military

6. 3D Printing iPhones in America: Disrupting Foxconn’s Assembly Line

5. 3D Printing Will Be As Disruptive As the PC, Thanks to Piracy

4. Could 3D Printing Save the Public Library System? Mixed Opinions

3. 3D Printing on the Horizon: Can You Spot the Trend?

2. Interview: Idle Print Looks to Monetize Spare Cycles in 3D Printing

1. 3D Printing a Futuristic Airplane Cabin: Innovation at Airbus


Thanks for reading in September!


Top 3D Printing Headlines Last Week: Katy Perry, Madonna, Airplanes, Military

Cross Necklace 3D Printing Celebrities

A roundup of the top news On 3D Printing brought you from September 3 to September 9.

Monday, September 3

Tuesday, September 4
Wednesday, September 5

3D Printing Mobile Labs: A New Combat Strategy for the U.S. Military

US Army REF 3D Printing

The U.S. military is embracing 3D printing in a novel way: they have developed mobile labs that can prototype and manufacture replacement parts or innovative equipment in combat.

The service’s Rapid Equipping Force, known as the REF, took a standard 20-foot shipping container and packed it with high-tech, prototyping machines, lab gear and manufacturing tools to create the Expeditionary Lab — Mobile.

Soldiers no longer have to wait to bring ideas back to scientists and engineers back in the states. The REF has brought the experts to the soldiers in combat.

The first mobile 3D printing labs were deployed to Afghanistan this summer. Each lab costs $2.8 million.

Col. Pete Newell, commander of the Army’s REF, explained the motivation. “The soldiers out there, they know how to do stuff; they know how to fix stuff and they know what they need to be able to do, but what they don’t have is the technical expertise in many cases to do it themselves.”

 The military is already citing successful case studies.

The extreme heat in Afghanistan quickly eroded the eight-hour battery life of these devices down to 45 minutes, a problem that loaded down dismounted soldiers with the weight of extra batteries for multi-day missions.

Engineers created a special adaptor and power cable for a standard military-issue BA5590 battery, which now powers the Minehound for up to nine hours. The fix also allowed soldiers to take the battery off the device and wear it on their body for better weight distribution and reduced arm fatigue, Newell said.

Expect to see a growth in 3D printing mobile labs – not just for combat scenarios but also for handling natural disasters and other peace-time missions.

Watch the video below for more details.


Via Military.com.


Shape Up Medical School! 3D Printing Instead of Human Cadavers

Medical School 3D Printing

Medical School students have long used human cadavers in their training for diagnosis, treatment and surgery before they begin practicing with real patients. With improvements in 3D printing technology, realistic artificial body parts can be produced rather than relying on corpses. The U.S. military is currently evaluating this opportunity.

Such artificial body parts would “ideally not be actual biological tissues,” but instead would consist of materials that could physically simulate the feel of flesh and bone. Success in printing out entire body part sections containing bone, muscle, skin and blood vessels could lead to lower medical training costs and cut back on the need for animal or human cadavers.

“If such technology were possible, a wide variety of human anatomy sections could be printed on demand,” according to a U.S. Defense Health Program solicitation for small business issued on May 11.

The 3D printed artificial body parts would also ideally allow for normal CT or MRI medical scans, so that physicians could practice interpreting the scan images before diving in with scalpels. The U.S. military effort could also presumably benefit American physicians and medical schools back on the home front.


Via LiveScience.

Medical School photo by uonottingham used under Creative Commons license.

Pentagon Offers Prizes for Crowdsourced Military Vehicle Designs

DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), in collaboration with MIT, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt and GE, is initiating a program to crowdsource designs for the next generation of military vehicles.

The New York Times reports about the Vehicleforge.mil program:

The near-term target, they said, is to collaborate on a design for an amphibious vehicle for the Marines. The first contest, with a $1 million prize, is planned for early next year. It involves mobility and drive-train subsystems for the vehicle. Next, about six months later, will be the design for the chassis and other subsystems, a contest that will carry another $1 million prize.

While not directly related to 3D printing, there is a connection. By crowdsourcing ideas for new military vehicles,  the government is extending military design beyond the walls of the Pentagon. DARPA is acknowledging that the wisdom of the crowds might be a great way to augment the expertise of its staff.

If this model proves out, it could lead to wider adoption of crowdsourced design for other industries, such as consumer products, fashion and sports. Enter 3D printers and you have a future where individuals can leverage crowdsourced designs to find new products and print them in their own home or community.

It’s going to happen.

Read more about the Vehicleforge.mil program at the New York Times.