Recent reports indicate that the US military is developing its own range of 3D printers, designed to enable soldiers on the front line to quickly and cheaply produce space parts for their equipment. By bringing this emerging technology to the battlefield spare parts and sensitive equipment for devices such as GPS receivers and air drones can be produced onsite rather than waiting on parts from overseas
Turning virtual designs into 3D physical objects will soon become a reality for staff and students at the University of Bristol’s Merchant Venturers School of Engineering (MVSE) thanks to the donation of the latest in 3D technology by Bits from Bytes, a subsidiary of 3D Systems Ltd. 3D print technology is a rapidly developing technology and is now used extensively within manufacturing, engineering and academic research.
In Afghanistan the US Army has deployed the first of several USD$2.8M mobile prototyping labs. These container-sized labs house 3D printers and CNC machines capable of rapidly producing spare or replacement parts that would otherwise take months to order and be delivered using conventional approaches.