3D Printing in the Army: Here’s how

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3D Printing in the Army: Here’s how
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Military Applications of 3D Printing

DON’T CLICK OUT YET, I know this type of article is a bit clichéd and usually points out the dangers of 3D printing (i.e. the power to create anything). But, this is not the case here, at all.

3D Printing can create anything. Thus it is no surprise that the military (especially the United States’ one) already utilizes it, and has already made several breakthroughs. Here is a compiled list of all the uses that the military has found, up to date, for 3D Printing (plus some other possibilities for it in the end).

Okay, we cannot print a War Machine or Iron Man suit, yet, or an exoskeleton, but there are also interesting and noteworthy uses.

I am pretty sure that while researching this I got into an NSA watch list.


1. Guns & Gun Parts

AR15

AR-15 Rifle with crutial 3D Printed Parts (Source: https://usnewsghost.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/second-3d-printing-revolution-new-3d-printing-technologies/)

Of course every article about the military uses of 3D printing should start with 3D Printable weaponry. Plus, we have gone a long way since that one 3D Printable gun that has been floating around the web. Now, we can print full-fledged and working AR-15 rifles (or, at least, modifications of it, including parts of the main body and firing mechanism), and a 1911 semi-automatic pistol.

It is fascinating how designers and engineers managed to handle the pressures and temperatures that occur during the firing of a bullet with materials similar to Lego bricks.



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Comments 19

    • The AR is really the only part that can be 3d printed, and that was with a industrial grade printer not your run of the mill “Ultimaker”. you can do it on a desktop printer but it would take a lot of trial and error to get one to fit. I don’t know what kind of stresses that ABS or PLA can take but I don’t think it would last more than a few rounds. As for the “Liberator” pistol it is a one use pistol. I wouldn’t use anything bigger than a 32 cal. That’s what they did with the one in WWII they were dropped over occupied France. The Resistance would use it on German Solders then take there guns and ammo. I wouldn’t even try to shoot one

      • Profile photo of Nick Kalogeropoulos

        Obviously you know better than any of us here. The only instance I know of the Liberator being fired is in “Elementary” (S2E1 if I am not mistaken). He had to change barrels every time and it only took a specific caliber. When he tried another caliber, of course it did not end well for him. But still, it did its job, considering it has no serial number and its cost is below the 30$ mark

    • Then don’t use it for that, there are a lot of good stuff you can print like a hand crank fan or donate your printer time to make artificial hands for kids. The truth is the there are those people out there bent on doing evil my hope is that the will try to build a weapon of some sort, then try and use it and either get themselves thrown in jail or at worst get themselves killed. I hope you stay true to your conviction.

  1. In the words of Darth Vader, “Impressive . . .most impressive!” I am a military brat (step-dad was an Army Chopper pilot, so I have had my share of MRE’s. Having meals that could be tailored to my likes would be very nice, over the stock flavors and choices.

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