Obama Plays Up 3D Printing’s Military Applications

(PCWorld) President Barack Obama thinks 3D printing can play a role in strengthening the military and America’s sagging manufacturing industry. Several different applications of the technology were identified by the president as part of a $200 million federally funded competition to create three manufacturing institutes across five federal agencies – Defense, Energy, Commerce, NASA and the National Science Foundation. The competition is part of a broader $1 billion effort by the Obama administration to reinvest in American manufacturing “after shedding jobs for a decade,” the White House press secretary said in a statement.

The manufacturing competition, however, comes as 3D printing faces increasing scrutiny from lawmakers who are concerned about one application in particular: guns. In its announcement, the Obama administration did not identify the development of specific types of firearms or weapons that the manufacturing hubs might eventually support.

The three institutes, which will be selected through a competitive process led by the departments of Energy and Defense and will be announced later this year, will serve as regional hubs to bring together research and product development, industry, universities and community colleges, the White House said.