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Naval Research Interested In Bringing 3D Printing To Large Scale For Ships 44

coondoggie writes: The Navy this month will outline what it is looking for from additive manufacturing or 3D printing technology as way to bolster what it terms "fleet readiness." The Office of Naval Research will on July 15 detail its Quality Metal Additive Manufacturing (Quality MADE) program that will aim to "develop and integrate the suite of additive manufacturing software and hardware tools required to ensure that critical metallic components can be consistently produced and rapidly qualified in a cost effective manner."
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Naval Research Interested In Bringing 3D Printing To Large Scale For Ships

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  • by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Thursday July 02, 2015 @08:33PM (#50036639)
    "Scotty - we need the temporal distortion generator up and running soon. You have 15 minutes!"

    "But Captain! the 3d printers canna take much more if this! They're overheatin' already!"

    • In Live Free of Die [], humanity buys a replication device and some older weapon plans from some advanced aliens for war against other, less-advanced aliens.

      They divide its time between producing cool stuff and cloning itself. Very RTS-like strategizing.

      Of course with enough replications, you can have an army of replicators spitting out ships like the Starforge, no Force assist needed.

      • Of course with enough replications, you can have an army of replicators spitting out ships like the Starforge, no Force assist needed.

        You post got me to thinking. Imagine if you would, the ability to reproduce an F1 rocket engine.

        That might not be the best example, but the ability to reproduce items ala carte, especially in a military context, would greately extend the lifetimes of the systems. So much superannuation is based on lack of replacement parts.

        So imagine the ability to reproduce a Saturn 5, replete with incremental improvements. The same with an F-14 Tomcat. or A10 Thunderbolt.

        Those are just a couple examples of some fi

        • Imagine if you would, the ability to reproduce an F1 rocket engine.

          That's what Dynetics is trying with the F-1B project... With 8 MN of liftoff thrusts, despite the other projects in the works (the Falcons, Vulcan, the mythical Blue Origin launcher), it could still make for an interesting single-stick launcher.

        • Re:I can see it now (Score:4, Informative)

          by TheGavster ( 774657 ) on Thursday July 02, 2015 @10:02PM (#50036967) Homepage

          The metal bits aren't what go obsolete. The tooling to produce the engines, the frames, the aerodynamic surfaces were destroyed only after the planes were retired. 3D printing doesn't help build microchips, wiring boards, etc.

          Could some of those parts have been produced better with 3D printing? Sure. Particularly inside the engines, there are very complex forms that are difficult to make subtractively. But the whole plane? Big simple forms are far stronger and consistent when stamped from rolled stock than sintered up from powder.

          The reason those planes were retired is that new requirements emerged, and it was decided (rightly or wrongly) that a new design was the right way to meet them.

          • It's true that 3d printing isn't going to solve all your problems; but some are likely to prove hairier than others:

            Microchips are a pretty nasty case. Between long development cycles and the demand for mil/aero rated and otherwise hardened versions, military gear is quite likely to be riddled with already-obsolete parts by the time it is formally declared 'finished', much less when the Block N variant is still in use 30 years later. Unfortunately, fully accurate emulation of even relatively feeble digita
            • by ihtoit ( 3393327 )

              the 65xx series are still being manufactured. You can get a 40-pin DIL package for change out of thirty Dollars.

          • by ihtoit ( 3393327 )

            the V-Force was retired with no replacements even planned, never mind implemented. Same as we're seeing now with our carriers. And our combat air wings.

          • Re:I can see it now (Score:5, Interesting)

            by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Friday July 03, 2015 @02:26AM (#50037643) Journal
            I can see a ships hull being printed in one piece but a lot of plane parts are made from drop forged metal because it's the only way they can be made both strong enough and light enough to fly, I assume jet engines have a lot of drop forged parts for similar reasons, 3D printers are not going to replace drop forges any day soon. Also the skin of an aircraft is not like the skin of a car, commercial aircraft use a laminated skin to make it more resistant to tearing when the skin is broken at high speed.
            • Re:I can see it now (Score:4, Interesting)

              by oobayly ( 1056050 ) on Friday July 03, 2015 @04:08AM (#50037937)

              Other components -such as gas turbine engine blades - are required to made from a single crystal of metal [], for strength and resistance against thermal creep. If I recall correctly, the crystal is essential "grown" in the manufacturing process. It's unlikely that 3d printing will ever suffice for certain components. That said, there are thousands of components that could benefit from 3d printing.

              • ...and yet, manufacturers are considering printing the blades anyway, or are already doing it (GE?).
                • I wasn't aware of that - it'll be interesting to see how they get that to work. Sometimes I wish I actually made it into the aerospace industry - they do some pretty cool stuff.

            • I don't think the article is suggesting aircraft carriers have a big fabber below desks that will print you out a new aircraft. I expect it will be used in the first instance to reduce inventory for all the spare bits and pieces, and it will be asked to make a new handle for the coffee jug. But I reckon this could go a long way...

              The big drop forges are used to form and work-harden material in one blow. If you have a press that is big enough to whack out a whole aircraft bulkhead in one go, then you end

              • Agree, very promising technology with lots of small scale uses right now. This is the first time I've heard of printing ships and I like the idea of printing buildings on site using recycled building materials.

                Living bone awesome, they have their own independent neural network that can function without any help from the brain, (as does your gut). The neural network in your bones is responsible for the structural adaptations made in response to environmental stresses in individuals, it basically senses st
            • by Jookey ( 604878 )
              pretty sure the navy is just adding a new tool to there shipboard machine shop.
  • This seems downright unamerican! If a branch of the armed forces develops the ability to do something internally, how can it be contracted out? Perhaps congress will oblige us with a variant on the farm bill; and ensure 'price stability' by paying the former producers of now 3d-printed parts to not produce them.
    • Well, aren't you just totally informed, you must have been in the service as I was. I was SATCOM, we constantly had dudes in and out in Italy. I was once responsible for carting one team around and they lost their cargo so I took them to the local BRICO and helped the install.... they still lost their contract ( a side note, everyone else called one of the the team members 'ass crack', fat dude with saggy pants always saying he had a job with the NSA waiting... ), just my luck that I can't be putting that o
  • that's three D's
  • I would rather not see any stories featuring easy tripe buzz words for a while. This includes: Drones, 3D Printers, and Graphene.

  • I can't wait until the first files show up on the Internet to make it possible to 3D-print your very own 12-inch naval artillery!

    On the other hand, though...after that day I will no longer be willing to visit either Texas or Arizona.

  • ...Until your 3-D printed weather deck delaminates.

Think of it! With VLSI we can pack 100 ENIACs in 1 sq. cm.!