The Army is Enthusiastic About 3D Printing for the Future

ROSE COVERED GLASSES

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“DEFENSE ONE”

“Talking helmets and Robt Builders:  The Army’s Future of 3D Printing

The Army’s Rapid equipment force already owns five 3D printing stations, two of which were sent to Afghanistan in 2012 to print replacement parts.

If you go by the Hype Cycle — Gartner’s annual tech-buzz assessment — then consumer 3D printing is about to tumble from the “peak of inflated expectations” into the “trough of disillusionment,” part of the coming five- to 10-year slog to the practical applications that await atop the “plateau of productivity.” But Larry “L.J.” Holmes, the principal investigator for materials and technology development in additive manufacturing at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, (ARL) isn’t waiting around for that.

In a presentation last month at the Intelligence and National Security Alliance summit, Holmes sketched out a variety of potential uses for 3D printing for the military, ranging from intelligence to communications to terraforming the…

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