3D Printing in Government Applications

3D printing has caught the eye of government agencies because of its speedy, on-site delivery.
The U.S. Department of Defense, Commerce, Energy and NASA have joined together to invest millions of dollars in a pilot institute on additive manufacturing. The National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, rebranded in 2013 as America Makes, is an Ohio-based research facility that aims to advance the nation’s 3D printing industry to become more globally competitive.

3D Printing in Government Agencies
The DoD envisions the use of 3D printers on remote military sites to replace munitions, weaponry and operations parts that would be otherwise too expensive and time-consuming to ship. The military has already begun to use additive manufacturing for on-demand production of surgical and medical instruments.

The U.S. Department of Energy is excited about the 3D printing’s considerably lower energy use compared to traditional machining, in addition to localized production that require less energy resources for transporting end-use products. The additive manufacturing process also requires less raw material by eliminating material waste removed in the subtractive manufacturing process.

NASA has already realized the aerospace advantages of 3D printing, including 3D printing’s ability to overcome design barriers imposed by traditional manufacturing methods, for example, by using lightweight, yet strong, lattice designs.

Government agencies are expected to continue to adopt and invest in 3D printing as advancements are made in this burgeoning industry.