US Army tests 3D Printed drones for on-demand manufacturing
In December, engineers from the Army Research Laboratory flight tested 3D-printed unmanned aircraft created with a new on-demand system, the release explained.
"The system allows soldiers requiring unmanned aerial vehicle support to input their requirements into mission planning software and then receive a 3D-printed aerial vehicle within 24 hours," the release stated.
The test drone with four rotary blades managed reach 55 miles per hour, despite a few kinks such as excessive vibration that need to be worked out, the release noted.
The Army is researching the possible use of 3D printers by forward-deployed soldiers for multiple tasks.
"This isn't just about [drones]," the project’s team leader and project manager Eric Spero said in the release. "It's about forward-deployed, 3D printing to help the soldier."
For soldiers attending the December demonstration, Spero’s team also printed a Picatinny rail, which is a bracket used to mount accessories on a small arms weapon, such as an M4 carbine, the release explained.
In about two and a half hours, they had a rail that fit the soldiers' weapons perfectly, the release added.