It’s no secret that 3D Printing is an invaluable attribute in any industry; defense included. Chinese battleships are reported to be equipped with 3D printers capable of reproducing virtually anything (provided with the necessary materials) while at sea.
Engineers make use of these machines where they are reported to play a “crucial role in performing minor repairs in combat situations and safeguarding a ship’s combat effectiveness”. Access to a 3D printer on board a vessel while at sea (or in space, for that matter) will lighten the load of the vessel altogether by eliminating the storage space and tons of supplies that would otherwise be stored away for use if/when needed. Advantages to traveling light are clear; especially when it’s on a “warship”. Computers, casting and molding equipment, printing materials (aluminum alloys among other metallic and plastic printing materials) are all on-board to provide for successful 3D printing and manufacturing. The computers in control of the 3D printers are equipped with extensive databases containing 3D design files specified for virtually every part on the machine in which it sits. All files are proofed, packaged, and ready to be manufactured with the required material(s) at a moment’s notice.
“Chinese Naval Warships Outfitted with 3D Printers.” Chinese Naval Warships Outfitted with 3D Printers. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Jan. 2015.