Picatinny Arsenal’s 3D Printing Applications for Soldiers

(NorthJersey.com) At Picatinny Arsenal, a military research and manufacturing facility in New Jersey, scientists and engineers are using additive manufacturing and 3D printing to print electronics, weapon components and training models.

3D printing allows Picatinny Arsenal’s engineers to potentially print sensors directly onto a weapon or an article of clothing. For instance, a radio antenna made of silver nanoparticles printed onto a flexible polyimide substrate could be embedded into a soldier’s helmet, replacing the antenna that currently attaches to the headgear. Or, electronics could be printed on the side of artillery, freeing up space inside the round.

In the near future, Picatinny scientists hope they will be able to print and assemble entire weapon systems in one manufacturing cube. For example, an entire claymore mine could be printed and assembled in one machine by using various tools and printing processes.

It would also be beneficial for deployed soldiers to have 3D scanners to scan a broken part, then send engineers the file from which engineers could make a new one. Even better would be to give soldiers access to their own 3D printers in the field so that they could make their own parts. Normally, if soldiers in the field break a bracket, it could take two or three weeks to replace it.”