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New 3D printing to expedite prototyping of revolutionary army technologies

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The University of Maine’s (UMaine) new 3D printing capability will enable the rapid production of products and prototypes for the US Army.

Recently acquired, the world’s largest 3D printer will deliver innovations in defence equipment.

Unveiled last month, the printer will see the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Soldier Center (SC) and UMaine work on advancing the 3D printing capability.

The capability will allow army engineers to prototype technologies for troops.

It will accelerate the process to ensure critical capabilities are delivered to soldiers in less time.

The printer will support the development of rapidly deployable shelter systems for the army.

UMaine showcased the S-280, a 3D-printed, vehicle-mounted US Army communications shelter last month at the unveiling event of the new printer. The shelter was printed in 48 hours.

CCDC SC military deputy colonel Frank Moore said: “The new 3D Printer will really help drive the collaboration. They are the only facility right now that can print on this size and this scale and do this kind of 3D manufacturing, which will revolutionise how the army prototypes and manufactures shelters, vehicles and other large systems.”

The new 3D printer has the ability to create objects up to 100ft. It will cater to the production of large-scale structures.

CCDC SC Expeditionary Maneuver Support Directorate director Claudia Quigley said: “This new capability will allow the army to apply additive manufacturing principles to the development of large structures, revolutionising the army’s ability to design and ultimately produce army equipment, such as shelters and command posts.

“There are opportunities to develop new high strength structural composite materials, to optimise designs for new army technologies, to develop new design processes for full-scale manufacturability, and then to rapidly produce army equipment.

“This 3D printing capability for large structures supports army readiness and modernisation initiatives in a multi-domain environment.”

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