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U.S. Army to use System that can help 3D Print Drones on-Demand

Resources are exhaustible but actually there is a cost involved for every product made with the resource. The lower the cost and lesser the utilization of the resources more will be the product, as simple as that.

3D Printing has brought about a new age industrial revolution and most of the credit goes to this simple above fact that it has rectified the use of resources and simultaneously brought down the manufacturing costs.

This benefit has been exploited by almost all the industries and similar is the case with the defence industry. A few years back manufacturing of military equipment’s like fighter jets, tanks, vehicles & machines were limited due to the huge costs it entails. Drones are new to the military scheme of things but now they are available with almost all the major countries and being used on an extensive level. But drones too carry a heavy price on it and have to be used on a cautionary level. A damaged drone is another cost incurred by the military.

Here comes the advantage 3D printing has provided to the defence sector. It has significantly brought down the costs and time to make a drone. The simplicity and cost-effectiveness of 3D printing has given the military a new tool to exploit the drones and use them on a vast scale as never before to weed out the bad elements on army’s radar.

US Army Soldier operates drone through a device (Note: Image is for Representation Purpose only).
Image Credit: Engadget

Not all drones are the same. Drones are application specific and have to be equipped with special accessories depending on its use and purpose. It also depends on the geography of the region. 3D printing has the capability to build terrain specific drones with same ease as any general purpose drone. A drone can be manufactured quickly and one which is suitable for the specific terrain. It will be as simple as choosing a particular drone suitable for that particular geographical region and then printing it whenever a drone for that particular application is needed.

The US Army and the Marine core are working on this idea and according to a recent press release on the Army’s website, they are working on building an On-demand drone manufacturing system. It will be designed as simple as possible. A drone catalogue will be created which can be accessible to thee troops and they could simply select the drone to be manufactured and with a push of the button the drone will start printing. The troops can access this from the field and if a certain drone is damaged they can order a new drone right then and there.

Drones, like tanks, fighter jets, and other military vehicles and machinery are finite, meaning that if you destroy enough there will be none left. So imagine a situation where an enemy has shot down the military’s remaining drone, what then? Or better yet, imagine if the situation were such that the military could simply 3D print a new drone and have it operational in a short amount of time.

According to reports, this will save a lot of time because the Army Research Laboratory is developing a system which can print the drones in a matter of hours or even minutes as against the current process where it takes weeks to get a new drone.

This system will not only be fast but also save a lot of overhead costs of running a manufacturing plant for drones.

This is not the first time that 3D printing has developed a new way of reducing time, material and lowering the overall costs without compromising the utility of the product. This is envisioned to be a path-breaking development in the defence manufacturing and one which will possibly be replicated to other defence equipment’s manufacturing.

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