Home Applications & Case Studies U.S. Marine Corps: 3D Printing during Flight

U.S. Marine Corps: 3D Printing during Flight

The Consortium for Additive Manufacturing Research and Education (CAMRE) at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) has conducted the first successful in-flight demonstration of 3D printing aboard a U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft in Southern California.

“We are in a unique position to rapidly support the joint force and accelerate the adoption of advanced manufacturing,” said Chris Curran, program manager at CAMRE. “This is just one of many events we are committing resources to where we share our research and deliver equipment and know-how to servicemembers.”

Spencer Koroly, an engineer with the Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC), developed the printer used, the Advanced Manufacturing Operational System (AMOS), known for its speed and robustness on expeditions.

“I see this as revolutionary, being able to print on the move,” Koroly said. “Nothing is more expeditionary than printing medical devices and swarm robotics in the back of an aircraft.”

The team started with a 3D scan of a Marine*s arm to create a drawing of a medical cast. This was printed while the Osprey performed various maneuvers.

“We are just scratching the surface on the capabilities that will come from being able to 3D print in flight,” said Lt. Col. Michael Radigan, who serves as a liaison to NPS from the MIU. “Dozens of printers being installed in a modular fashion aboard aircraft brings the ability for mobile production at a scale we have not experienced before.”

CAMRE’s goal is to accelerate advanced manufacturing capabilities for the armed forces, disseminate new capabilities, provide training and certification, and validate concepts through operational exercises.

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