Monthly Archives: April 2013

3D Printing and the Army

Since my last post about 3D printing in the Navy garnered more likes than any other post to date, I figured we should continue the military trend and discuss how the Army uses the technology.

Actually, the Army has just as many uses for similar applications of 3D printing.

State-of-the-art 3D printers cut costs, turnaround time

Much like isolated ships having trouble accessing key components on the high seas, forward Army bases often find themselves weeks away from their supply chains.

Recently, a shortage of parts was delaying delivery of Harris radios. The radios required the installation of small dust caps prior to shipping to the customer. Finding and getting the part from a vendor could have taken weeks; so instead, Mechanical Engineer Eugene Haikes designed a 3-D model of the part and the depot printed 600 dust caps in 16 hours.

“If the depot wanted to produce the dust caps but didn’t have a rubber mold for them, we could have expected to pay anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 for the mold,” said Mead. “Because Eugene was able to come up with the model, we were able to produce the caps for only a dollar apiece while trimming days, if not weeks, off of our anticipated delivery date.”

Just like the Navy, advantages don’t stop there, as 3D printing can create objects too complicated for traditional machining and casting processes.

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Facial Reconstruction through 3D Scan, Print

UK Doctors are reverse engineering and reconstructing a man’s face, thanks to 3D technologies. Warning – some images could be graphic.

Eric Moger lost half of his face to cancer and as a result could no longer eat, drink or speak.  Doctors scanned his face and mirrored the “good” side over the “bad.”  The result is a model of the face very similar to how it used to look.  From that the team of doctors was able to develop a prosthesis that allows the patient use of his mouth again.

For the first time in five years, Eric Moger is able to speak clearly without holding his mouth, eat without a feeding tube, and hold his head high while going to the pub with his friends.

In the words of Mr. Moger, himself, “It is a great feeling to look in the mirror and see a whole face again. I am amazed at what they have done  – it just looks so like me. I also have something to look forward to, as Karen and I are planning to finally get married this summer.’

Mr MogerMr Moger

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3D Printing and the Navy

Navy, sea, ship, build, piping, ducting, parts, Proceedings

Even the Navy is getting involved in 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing.

Highlighted advantages include making complicated hulls with complex internal geometries in one fell swoop, as well as having print manufacturing on board vessels to deliver on demand replacement parts.

 

 

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