According to a report in the Economist, Ukraine is increasingly turning to home-made 3D-printed explosive devices. The “candy bombs” are intended to compensate for supply shortages of conventional ammunition.
Several Ukrainian groups produce the improvised explosive devices in homework. According to their own information, one team produces up to 1000 units per week. The plastic casings are then filled with C4 explosives.
Volunteers describe the effect of the explosive devices, some of which are only the size of a hand, as devastating. Wooden boards are cut through like butter, the splintering effect is higher than with grenades. Larger bombs with copper and aluminum parts are used against armored vehicles.
With the 3D printers, the bombs can be produced for a few dollars each, according to the creators. Ukraine now has 200 different models and sizes in use, they say. The army uses the Candy Bombs specifically against infantry and tanks.
The background to this is a shortage of ammunition on the Ukrainian side. Despite Western arms deliveries, stocks of conventional weapons are not sufficient. The 3D printers can be used to demonstrate improvisation skills, as long as enough basic materials for explosives are available.
In addition to the Candy Bombs, Ukraine is developing other improvised weapons to keep up the defensive fight. 3D printing is enabling rapid adaptation to changing needs on the front lines. Decentralized manufacturing in workshop networks makes production harder to attack.
How effective the homemade weapons ultimately are is difficult to assess. What is clear, however, is that the Ukrainians are using their improvisational skills and inventiveness to push back the Russian invaders.