If you’re a fan of science fiction, then you probably can’t wait for the day when you can tell a computer what you want to eat or wear and have it made for you right on the spot.
Well good news, the future is here…sort of.
Over the last few years, the military has been experimenting with new manufacturing technologies such as 3D printing to improve military products for soldiers. The results have been very impressive, and they’ve been applied to clothing, medical treatment and even food.
3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, uses a computer to design a digital model, which the printer then constructs by laying down layers of physical material until a three-dimensional object is formed. A basic advantage of 3D printing is efficiency and ease of production. For example, in some cases tooling and assembly lines will be things of the past. Yet each of the applications that the military is researching also benefits uniquely from the process:
All of these applications of additive manufacturing are still in development, but the military has made some impressive progress. It’s not hard to imagine that someday soon, all of these futuristic technologies will be available in the home, and not just the battlefield.
Now if only they could develop a robot vacuum that can actually climb stairs.
If you want to read more about interesting developments in manufacturing, welding, and education, be sure to visit our blog regularly. We also invite you to visit the rest of AWO, where you can find digital lectures, online classes, and other tools to help you advance your welding career.
Army Technology: 3D Printing
Additive Manufacturing and the Future of American Industry