Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Pacific and MatterHackers, the Southern California-based 3D printing company, have entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA). This CRADA aims to provide use cases for the Navy and Marine Corps to identify, test, and collect data on effective, low-cost, expeditionary 3D printing. Evaluating through challenging field environments, MatterHackers is providing subject expertise through both on-site and virtual training, technical support, and equipment, including a wide variety of 3D printers using engineering-grade materials.
“The results of the CRADA will potentially aid in accelerating operationalization of commercial off-the-shelf 3D printing for government and military use, a task that has been well underway by the Marine Corps’ Advanced Manufacturing Operations Cell (AMOC),” says Maj. Matthew Audette, Advanced Manufacturing Systems Team Lead. “AMOC’s goal is to further employ additive manufacturing throughout the Marine Corps, including certifying, storing and sharing files for approved 3D printed parts.”
NIWC Pacific provides technological and engineering support to a variety of major U.S. Navy and DoD commands. MatterHackers joins NIWC Pacific under this CRADA to specifically assess and identify Marine Corps use cases associated with ground vehicle equipment and additional innovative Marine Corps-developed solutions. MatterHackers provides industry-leading knowledge of approaches to direct part replication, material substitution, part consolidation, and general design practices uniquely suited to 3D printing parts.
“MatterHackers has been working closely with our neighbors at Camp Pendleton in Southern California for years, and we are so excited to be able to dig deeper into their 3D printing needs with this CRADA,” says Mara Hitner, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at MatterHackers. “We want to help push those capabilities further with the right machines, materials, and training.”
MatterHackers, in conjunction with NIWC Pacific, will work with the Marine Corps to test 3D printed parts in numerous use-case situations, with successful prototypes being delivered to respective Program Offices for further reliability and durability testing. MatterHackers will collaborate with the aforementioned groups on the design and prototyping of novel additive manufacturing equipment to meet the Marine Corps needs, including the ability to widely ingest available materials of interest, such as stainless steel 3D printer filament that can be debinded and sintered off-site.
“CRADAs such as this facilitate the vital collaboration between defense and industry which is essential to equipping, maintaining, and sustaining our forces,” says Maj. Kate DeLeal, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, Director of Additive Manufacturing Policy. “MatterHackers, NIWC Pacific, and the Marine Corps AMOC demonstrate the very best of these partnerships, seeking to create operationally-informed testing environments focused on evaluating the role emerging and improving 3D printing technologies and materials can ultimately serve to improve warfighter agility and lethality.”
“MatterHackers, NIWC Pacific and the Marine Corps will identify and address military-specific challenges experienced in tactical settings, and evaluate how open-source 3D printing materials, additive manufacturing equipment, and commercial-grade technical training can help resolve them quickly and effectively,” says Kristin Holzworth, Ph.D., NIWC Pacific Principal Investigator. “The cooperative hopes that as a result of this CRADA, 3D printing capabilities will be better integrated throughout all echelons of the greater Naval enterprise to improve readiness of U.S. Marines and Sailors.”
Find out more about MatterHackers at matterhackers.com.
For more information about Naval Information Warfare Center, please visit niwcpacific.navy.mil.