Army, Vanderbilt work to make equipment on 3D printer


NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) –

Soldiers from Fort Campbell are teaming up with Vanderbilt University to experiment with 3D printing.

The soldiers from the Bravo Company 21st Engineer Battalion are at Vanderbilt learning how to make their own equipment for battle.

“This is very cool,” said Capt. Aimee Valles.

Soldiers are learning how to make their own equipment using printers and models to make housing units for explosives and other devices.

“We are working with Vanderbilt to 3D print and laser etch some demolition equipment,” said Valles.

“Accessibility to have replacement parts is ideal because a lot of stuff we use is one-time use,” said First Sgt. Robert Clark.

“When you’re out in the field and things are changing all the time and you need something to be smaller or bigger, to do that is amazing,” said Kevin Galloway, Director of Making at Vanderbilt University.

“These are the kinds of things that if we can get it printed in 20 minutes or in an hour or in a day," said Valles.

Valles said it’s better than waiting days, weeks or even years for equipment, and it has to be strong.

“We need something that is going to stand the test of time and strength,” said Valles.

That’s why they are experimenting with different plastics. It’s strong and helps lessen the load they carry.

“I got the lowest private whose carrying 40 to 50 pounds of gear, so anytime I can say ‘Hey, I can make this lighter for you,’ they’re getting more excited,” said Clark.

Soldiers said this technology can only help.

“This is something that can really revolutionize the way we do business in the Army,” said Valles.

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