U.S. Army Developing Process for Using 3-D Printing at Depots and in the Field

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February 19, 2020 | Originally published by Date Line: February 19 on

WASHINGTON — “The U.S. Army has an overarching concept for how it wants to use 3-D printing and subtractive manufacturing, but now it must develop a process for using the capabilities across the Service from arsenals, depots, and plants and then down to the tactical level,” said Gen. Gus Perna, the head of the Army Materiel Command.

The Army has dabbled in 3-D printing — also known as additive manufacturing — at an expeditionary level with mobile trailers, and it has used 3-D printers to produce polymers for critical replacement parts like plastic caps. In subtractive manufacturing, products are typically made by cutting out sections of material using a computer numerical control machine.

But as the technology evolves, the Army is working to codify a means to effectively use the capability across the force.