Jeff Wallace, a mechanical engineer with the Army’s Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Center (C5ISR) Center at APG explained, “Having the option to additively manufacture parts from a high strength polymer via the FFF process, at the field, division, and/or depot-level will certainly provide warfighters with the ability to produce better temporary parts much quicker – hours versus days or weeks – and at significantly lower costs – often pennies compared to tens of dollars. Additionally, soldiers tend to improvise as needed, often finding their own design solutions to the issues they face. As such, offering them a higher strength polymer material that can be used in the desktop printers they have access to, affords them the opportunity to innovate on-the-fly, as necessary to temporarily solve greater numbers of supply and design challenges. Their designs would then be sent to the proper Engineering Support Activity for evaluation.”

The Army sees great potential in this technology and is looking for additional commercial partners to accelerate development.