US Army Proving to be Adept at 3D Printed Weapons with New Grenade Launcher
Over the last couple of years the US Army has invested time and resources into 3d printing technology in order to help modernize the force.
That includes customized meals using 3d printed gels and drones that can be created on-demand, within 24 hours.
Yesterday the Army announced it had created a grenade launcher, which was nearly entirely 3d printed, and nicknamed it RAMBO. It didn’t stop there as it was made public that the grenades for the launcher were also 3d printed.
“R.A.M.B.O. consists of 50 individual parts, and all of them with the exception of springs and fasteners were made by 3D printing,” Kyle Mizokami writes in Popular Mechanics. “The barrel and receiver were made of aluminum using direct metal laser sintering, which the U.S. Army’s Acquisition Support Center describes as a ‘process that uses high-powered precision lasers to heat the particles of powder below their melting point, essentially welding the fine metal powder layer by layer until a finished object is formed’. The trigger and firing pin were printed in 4340 steel.”
This has serious implications for defense contractors that can now prototype and test new systems on the cheap and policy makers trying to deter the public from creating firearms with 3d printers that have security implications.
“The tooling and setup needed to make such intricate parts through conventional methods would take months and tens of thousands of dollars, and would require a machinist who has the esoteric machining expertise to manufacture things like the rifling on the barrel,” the ARMY wrote.