The Insider

Navy seeks sailors' suggestions on 3D-printed equipment

By Justin Katz  
January 3, 2018 at 10:22 AM

The Navy is soliciting ideas from the fleet on how to use additive manufacturing to create equipment, according to a Navy administrative message distributed last month.

"Recent technological advances enable manufacturing or cost-effective repair of end-use components, and open the door to an enormous array of new capabilities that will directly benefit the warfighter," the message states.

Shipboard sailors have previously used additive manufacturing to create a Hydra radio clip and a scullery throat guard, according to the message.

The Navy's lead for additive manufacturing is the deputy chief of naval operations, fleet readiness and logistics (N4). Ideas that could significantly benefit the Navy's readiness, cost savings or safety will be presented to Navy senior leadership.

"Additional guidance from Naval Air Systems Command and Naval Air Systems Command is in development and will be promulgated by June 2018 to maximize appropriate [additive manufacturing] usage in low-risk applications," the message states.