recommended reading

Pentagon seeks to join 3-D printing revolution

Photopolymer printing can print three-dimensional figures, as displayed at a conference in Ohio.

Photopolymer printing can print three-dimensional figures, as displayed at a conference in Ohio. // Amy Sancetta/AP

The original story misstated the amount of money to be spent in 2012. The figure is $18.8 million. The story has been corrected.

The Pentagon will fund an institute for agencies, companies and academics to advance three-dimensional printing techniques, with the eventual goal of cheaper and faster manufacturing of aerospace and defense parts.

Also known as additive manufacturing, 3-D printing uses special machines to make solid objects, layer by layer, from a digital file. Designers use 3-D printers to create cheap prototypes without needing to turn to an assembly line; hobbyists and tinkerers build do-it-yourself projects with the technology. Now the Pentagon wants to capitalize on 3-D printers to shave the costs of assembly tools.

The agency seeks to launch a $60 million 3-D printing research and educational program, documents show. Defense expects to fund $30 million from fiscal 2012 through 2014. The bulk of the funding -- $18.8 million -- is expected to be forked over in fiscal 2012. The 3-D printing initiative will offer a proof of concept on how to build a network of 14 institutes to spur ideas on improving domestic manufacturing, as part of a $1 billion White House initiative called the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. The program will be managed by various federal agencies, including Defense, the Energy Department, and the National Science Foundation.

The Pentagon is soliciting nonprofit organizations and universities to launch the pilot. The institution should house additive manufacturing experts, have a business plan to ensure it is financially sustainable, and be able to protect the patent rights of inventors. A proposer’s day for the pilot program will be held May 16. Proposals are due on June 14.

“Due to the advantages of additive manufacturing, considerable capability improvements and manufacturing cycle time reductions can be realized for new platforms,” the solicitation notes. “In addition, parts needed for DoD legacy systems can have a significant cost and cycle time savings because assembly tools are not required.”

The Pentagon’s participation in the 3-D printing revolution would give additional boost to an industry that is expected to grow to $3.1 billion by 2016 and $5.2 billion by 2020, according to research group Wohlers Associates.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.