Here at 3D Rapid Print, one of the fastest growing 3D Printing companies in the Thames Valley, we like to keep abreast of the latest innovations in 3D printing.

On June 4th 2020, multinational information technology company HP of Palo Alto, California revealed that they were 3D printing metal replacement parts for the US Marine Corps’ fleet of amphibious assault vehicles (AAVs). The Marines Corps intends to phase out using AAVs within the next 15 years to make way for a superior species of amphibious vehicle, which HP unsurprisingly argues discourages the manufacturing of AAV replacement parts by their traditional manufacturers.

HP contended that the resulting impact on the Marines Corps’ supply chain is leaving considerable numbers of AAVs sitting idle for months without maintenance, resulting in the potential worst-case scenario of having to sending Marines into battle without using AAVs. Moreover, what HP referred to as a “Marine Corps analysis” done in April 2020 concluded that many AAVs had been waiting an average of 140 days to receive replacement parts, with some parts having been backordered for more than a year.

Many AAV parts have conventionally been made via subtractive manufacturing, where a solid block of material is machined into a specific shape. In contrast, HP boasted that 3D printing can produce something as a single part that would otherwise have to be made from multiple pieces welded together. Back in spring 2020, HP’s 3D printed replacement parts started going through their first round of testing to establish that they are of an accurate size and weight, and properly function when installed on a test vehicle. The next round of testing will entail measuring the parts’ reliability by using them on a test vehicle that is driven around in a systematic manner.

3D printing is an amazing tool. It can grow your small business or start a mini revolution in an industry. Explore what it can do for you when you contact us today.

Disclaimer: Featured image of “170606-N-PF515-398 (34973155842)” is a work of a sailor or employee of the U.S. Navy, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, it is in the public domain in the United States.