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    3D Printing Creates New Possibilities onboard USS San Diego

    3D Printing Creates New Possibilities onboard USS San Diego (LPD 22)

    Photo By Petty Officer 1st Class Brandon Woods | Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuel) 1st Class Christopher Robertson shows a aluminum...... read more read more

    SAN DIEGO (Apr. 4, 2024) – Amphibious Transport Dock USS San Diego (LPD 22) Sailors piloted a liquid metal jetting additive manufacturing (AM) process, operationally testing the Xerox ElemX 3D printer for the fleet. San Diego is the first San Antonio-class LPD warship to test the machine’s onsite AM features.
    “The purpose of the 3D printer is to establish an additive manufacturing capability aboard L-Class ships,” says U.S. Marine and Combat Cargo Officer, Chief Warrant Officer Nicholas Garcia. “This reinforces our ability as a naval force to implement self-help measures from an engineering casualty perspective and to confront future landing force maintenance requirements. These are necessary to project combat power during crisis response and contingency operations.”
    Installed by the ship’s combat cargo Marines, the printer sits inside a 20-foot self-contained unit in the ship’s main vehicle stowage area.
    Onsite 3D liquid metal printing addresses the supply chain gap between the manufacturer and the customer.
    “It can take a long time to receive certain parts in the Navy,” says Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuel) 1st Class Christopher Robertson. “With something like this, we can turn six months of waiting for a part into a couple of hours.”
    San Diego’s air department Sailors were amongst the first to receive AM training. Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 2nd Class Scott Kibler recalls that the learning the operation of the printer itself was fairly simple and that air department Sailors have attended multiple classes to learn the machine’s operation.
    “It is significantly different from anything else I’ve done in the Navy mainly because you aren’t ordering a part from a manufacturer” said Kibler. “You have to use real world skills to reverse engineer the part or make a 2D drawing, then a 3D model, and print it. You have to be so precise to ensure it fits into the system correctly.”
    Since initial trainings have begun, air department Sailors have created low pressure air fittings, toggle pins, sound powered phone caps, and flush deck nozzle covers.
    AM technology will allow San Diego and other ships to manufacture critical parts in a forward deployed or highly contested maritime environment.
    “The 3D printer is envisioned to reduce in size in order to make it a permanent work space aboard L-Class ships,” says Garcia. USS San Diego is currently the test bed for additive manufacturing in the fleet, but in due time, AM will be reality on all L-class ships in the fleet.
    In April 2024, the Naval Postgraduate School established itself as a driving force in additive manufacturing (AM) research and education for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and Department of Defense, especially for applications in operational environments. Now the institution is taking another major step forward in the realm of AM, establishing a new laboratory to pursue further breakthroughs in 3D printing and related technologies for defense applications.
    Significant examples include the operational testing of the ElemX printer aboard USS San Diego (LPD 22) and in-flight testing of a portable 3D printer aboard a Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey.
    The pivotal investment in USS San Diego’s 3D printer represents the Navy’s effort to enhance AM technologies for maritime operations.
    For more information on the USS San Diego, visit us on the web, www.navy.mil/surfor/LPD22; and on Facebook, www.facebook.com/LPD22.
    For more information on CPR3, visit us on the web, www.navy.mil/surfor/cpr3/Pages/default.aspx; and on Facebook, www.facebook.com/PHIBRON3/.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 04.04.2024
    Date Posted: 04.26.2024 11:37
    Story ID: 469181
    Location: CORONADO, CALIFORNIA, US

    Web Views: 99
    Downloads: 0

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