Rapid Fabrication via Additive Manufacturing on the Battlefield

army-3d-printsSTARS AND STRIPES Published: HOHENFELS, Germany – A 3D printing unit the Army tested during an exercise here this week could revolutionize how vehicles and other equipment are repaired on the battlefield.

The mobile unit, which was used in the field during the Combined Resolve 10 exercise, is called the Rapid Fabrication via Additive Manufacturing on the Battlefield — R-FAB, for short.

The Army’s first attempt at 3D printing on a large scale in a battlefield environment appeared well-received by troops. “I think it added quite a bit of value to the fight,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Rolando Rodriguez, who oversaw the printing during the exercise.

“We were able to get systems up and running much faster than we would have been able to without it.”

The R-FAB is essentially several 3D printers and scanners, modified to fit in a large, easily transportable workstation. Its main purpose is to print out hard-to-acquire vehicle parts and equipment that would otherwise take a long time to deliver to a remote location.

Read more: Soldiers needed Humvee parts and rifle grips during an exercise

thumbnail courtesy of stripes.com