Army is now able to 3D-print body armor anywhere
3D printing has brought us all sorts of technological benefits- and now it might save lives in combat.
The US Army has devised a method to produce ceramic body armor using only a 3D printer, allowing lightweight armor to be dished out close to the front lines.
Lionel Vargas-Gonzalez, a researcher at the Army Research Laboratory, helped develop the armor while he was helping 3D print antenna parts.
With a little help from Joshua Pelz, a materials science and engineering doctoral candidate at the University of California San Diego, the Army found that they could “hack” their relatively simple 3D printers into creating the complex armor.
“Two syringes containing distinct, viscous ceramic slurries are connected to a custom-made auger and print head,” ARL said. “Pelz took advantage of his computer programming skills to hack into the 3D printer, tricking it into using its own fan controls to manipulate the ratio of materials being printed. He designed a custom auger and print head and even used the same 3D printer to create those parts.”
According to Task & Purpose, the very nature of 3D printing also means it might be possible for civilians and other entities to make the armor too, provided they can get the building medium and plans.
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