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Australian Army pushes engineering boundaries with metal 3D printing field trial

Commander 1st Brigade, Brigadier Ashley Collingburn (left) speaks with Chief Technical Officer of SPEE3D, Mr Steven Camilleri, about the capabilities of the WarpSPEE3D 3D printer during a field trial conducted at Mount Bundey Training Area, NT (Source: Dept of Defence)

Australian Army soldiers attached to the 1st Combat Service Support Battalion (1CSSB) will deploy the WarpSPEE3D metal printer for the second time during a year-long trial between the Australian Army and Darwin-based tech company, SPEE3D.

Australian Army soldiers attached to the 1st Combat Service Support Battalion (1CSSB) will deploy the WarpSPEE3D metal printer for the second time during a year-long trial between the Australian Army and Darwin-based tech company, SPEE3D.

Soldiers from 1CSSB will use the 4,500-kilogram 3D metal printing capability to print genuine military repair parts, using the patented cold spray technology developed by SPEE3D.

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In addition to the printer, 1CSSB will deploy its improved machine shop facility for the first time, enabling post print machining and heat treatment in the field.

1CSSB Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Kane Wright, values the benefits of custom made solutions in the tactical environment.

“Custom made parts, designed and printed in the field means we can get our equipment back in action and return to our primary role on the battlefield,” LTCOL Wright said.

From 17 to 28 August, the engineering soldiers will test their new skills learnt during an intensive design program in collaboration with Charles Darwin University and SPEE3D, which began in February this year.

“Our tech savvy soldiers now have the skills, and the technology from SPEE3D, to lessen the administration and logistics burden – to be their own solution without reaching back to base or a traditional commercial manufacturer,” LTCOL Wright added.

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SPEE3D CEO Byron Kennedy said the second field deployment proves the technology is a genuine solution for expeditionary metal 3D printing. 

“This two-week trial demonstrates the WarpSPEE3D is a robust workhorse that is capable of printing real parts and solving real problems in the field,” Kennedy said. 

“It also proves that soldiers can take control of the whole work flow of creating the spare parts they need, from design to printing and post-processing, right there where they need them.”

The printer is capable of printing large metal parts up to 40 kilograms, at a record-breaking speed of 100 grams per minute. 

SPEE3D printers enable the most affordable metal additive manufacturing process in the world. They make metal parts the fastest way possible, leveraging metal cold spray technology to produce industrial quality metal parts in just minutes, rather than days or weeks.

The process harnesses the power of kinetic energy, rather than relying on high-power lasers and expensive gasses. And for the first time it allows the flexibility of metal 3D printing at normal production costs.

Australian Army pushes engineering boundaries with metal 3D printing field trial
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