Australian Army Conducts Field Exercise of SPEE3D Metal 3D Printer in the Extreme Heat and Humidity

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metal 3D printer

Above: Australian Army Lance Corporal Sean Barton, from the 1st Combat Service Support Battalion, prepares the WarpSPEE3D metal 3D printer for part assembly during Exercise Buffalo Run at Mount Bundey Training Area, NT/Image Credit: CPL Rodrigo Villablanca/Department of Defence, Australia

SPEE3D, a metal 3D printer manufacturer, deployed its “WarpSPEE3D” metal 3D printer again in collaboration with the Australian Army during a two-week field exercise in the extreme heat and humidity of the Northern Territory. This comes after the successful field trial conducted in June this year.

WarpSPEE3D is the world’s first large-format metal 3D printer to use patented cold spray technology that enables significantly faster and more cost-effective metal part production than traditional manufacturing. Developed by SPEE3D, Australian award-winning manufacturer of metal additive manufacturing technology, the printer is capable of printing large metal parts up to 40kg at a record-breaking speed of 100grams per minute.

The printer arrived in Darwin in early June and forms the backbone of the Australian Army’s developing 3D printing capability.

Australian Army

Above: Australian Army Lance Corporal Sean Barton, from the 1st Combat Service Support Battalion, removes a newly 3D metal printed part from the WarpSPEE3D printer during Exercise Buffalo Run at Mount Bundey Training Area, NT/Image Credit: CPL Rodrigo Villablanca/Department of Defence, Australia

The WarpSPEE3D metal 3D printer has received a number of upgrades and modifications in the two months since its first deployment. It is deployed as a part of 1 CSSB’s larger Brigade Support Group, to various field locations in temperatures up to 38 degrees Celsius and 80% humidity, whilst printing and machining genuine military metal parts.

SPEE3D metal 3D printers provide superfast prints, leveraging metal cold spray technology to produce industrial quality metal parts in just minutes, rather than days or weeks. This process harnesses the power of kinetic energy, rather than relying on high-power lasers and expensive gasses, allowing 3D metal printing in the field, at affordable costs.

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The Australian Army announced a $1.5 million investment in a pilot of SPEE3D technology in February 2020 with a 12-month trial designed to test the feasibility of deploying 3D metal printers both on-base and in the field. SPEE3D partnered with the Advanced Manufacturing Alliance (AMA) and Charles Darwin University (CDU) to deliver the program with soldiers from the Australian Army’s 1st Brigade training in 3D printing at CDU since February.

SPEE3D CEO Byron Kennedy said, “This second field deployment proves our technology is a genuine solution for expeditionary metal 3D printing. This two-week trial demonstrates the WarpSPEE3D is a robust workhorse that is capable of printing real parts and solving real problems in the field. It also proves that soldiers can take control of the whole workflow of creating the spare parts they need, from design to printing and post-processing, right here where they need them.”

The program aims to significantly increase unique parts available to the Army compared to what the regular supply chain can provide.

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