Engineer provides Israeli troops with innovative 3D Printed Equipment amidst conflict

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(Representative image) Engineer supplies 3D printed equipment to Israel Defence Forces
(Representative image) Engineer supplies 3D printed equipment to Israel Defence Forces/Source: IDF

Ariel Harush, a materials engineering student at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, has led a volunteer initiative that is supplying 3D printed equipment to assist Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) soldiers in conflict zones. With a background as an R&D engineer at HP, Harush’s initiative has quickly grown from a single act of assistance to a nationwide effort, producing over 43,000 pieces of critical equipment for troops on the front lines.

This ground-breaking approach not only demonstrates the practical application of 3D printing in crisis situations, but it also reflects a deep commitment to assisting those in the line of duty.

Supplying 3D printed equipment to Israeli Troops

The launch of this initiative was prompted by the urgent need for equipment following a surge in conflict, which resulted in a dramatic call to arms for 360,000 reserve soldiers. Harush’s motivation stemmed from a strong personal connection to the conflict, as well as a desire to contribute to his country’s defence efforts.

Harush attempted to enlist for reserve duty but was denied by his army commander, who informed him that there were already too many people reporting for duty.

(Representative image) Harush supplied the TDF with a 3D printed radio connector
(Representative image) Ariel Harush initially supplied the TDF with a 3D printed radio connectors/Source: IDF

Harush explained that he was devastated but determined to help, but he couldn’t figure out how. His breakthrough came when he spoke with a friend who had been called up and told him he needed a connector – a small part for his army radio that he could, if necessary, make out of a bottle cap. But Harush had a better idea: 3D print the part.

“We printed a version of the radio connector and it worked well. I mean, it’s better than a Coca Cola cap. It was just a small thing I could help with, engineered specifically to the need.”

– Ariel Harush, materials engineering student leading the volunteer initiative

The next day, Harush received numerous calls from IDF commanders who had heard about the connector he had printed and wanted some for their own troops.

The 3D4IL project exemplifies how collaboration and innovation can address critical military needs. With a growing network of approximately 400 volunteers, the initiative quickly expanded its output to include a wide range of non-weapon items such as battery attachments, knee pads, and night vision adapters. This effort is motivated by a unique combination of technical knowledge and a common goal of improving soldier safety and operational efficiency.

Harush’s strategy for scaling the project included forming a WhatsApp group for coordination, which later evolved into a more structured request system via Google Sheets to handle the overwhelming demand.

The impact of 3D4IL goes beyond the number of items produced, demonstrating the adaptability of 3D printing to meet specific, often urgent, battlefield requirements. Among the innovative solutions developed were an eye protector for rifle scopes and a mesh cover to prevent scope glare, which directly addressed the needs of soldiers in the field. This ability to respond to real-world challenges highlights the critical advantage of 3D printing technology for rapid prototyping and production.

3D4IL Initiative & Network of Volunteers

The success of 3D4IL demonstrates the power of collaboration and technology. By mobilising a volunteer network and leveraging 3D printing capabilities, the initiative has demonstrated a scalable model for providing tailored solutions to military operations. The project thrives on donations, demonstrating the community’s willingness to support its soldiers in new ways.

“All I do is call everybody I know and tell them that I manage this project and I need one dollar to help one soldier to be more operative in the field”.

– Harush emphasised the collective effort behind 3D4IL

Harush knew he’d need more people with 3D printers to help him out, and since the project started, the volunteer group has grown to 400 people, and they’re working together to create multiple products or solutions for the various challenges troops face. Some of the parts 3D4IL volunteers have printed include an eye protector for a rifle scope and a mesh cover for the scope’s lens, which prevents any light from reflecting and revealing the soldier’s position.

These are simple products with far-reaching implications on the battlefield, so making them available as soon as possible is what makes them game changing. Furthermore, such products can cost around $6 per part, but Harush and his volunteer group can make them for a fraction of that price.

As 3D4IL evolves, it not only provides critical equipment to Israeli troops but also demonstrates how technology, particularly 3D printing, can be used to address immediate and specific needs in conflict zones. This initiative exemplifies how innovation, when combined with community support and dedication, can result in meaningful and impactful battlefield solutions, marking a new frontier in the use of 3D printing technology for defence and humanitarian purposes.

Original Source: NoCamels

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About author
Abhimanyu Chavan is the founder of Manufactur3D Magazine. He writes on Additive Manufacturing technology, interviews industry leaders, shares industry insights, and expresses his thoughts on the latest developments in the industry. You can follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.
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