3D printing has been the driving force being some real breakthroughs in the medical field; it has the potential to be a real life saver. But as we know that we as human natureis innately aggressive, we would gladly spend Millions of Dollars on building weapons of mass destruction than on Hospitals and education of the population. Weapons of destruction are vastly more important than healing people and hence Governments all over the world are investing more money into building weapons using 3d printing. We have seen instances of these in recent past when the American army, The British Navy and the Chinese Forces announced their grand plans of using 3D printing to replace conventional manufacturing processes to build Drones, weapons and tools to be used in wars.
The latest addition to this list is the Israel Air Force (IAF) which has announced their entry into the select group of 3d printing ready International governments by purchasing industrial-scale 3D printer from an undisclosed US 3D printer manufacturer. They plan to start make a number of aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) components using additive manufacturing.
IAF plans to use 3d printing for making prototypes of aircrafts but has grand plans to soon start 3D printing metal parts that could be used as replacements of the conventional parts. Talking about their plans with 3d Printing an IAF Senior official explained "We've conducted experiments on the ground with the parts that were printed and installed onto the planes, and it was successful. We also got engine parts that were printed, and in the 3D era we could, in the future, print generators for planes, bearings or a full engine for an aircraft, with the pistons already inside. The vision is, of course, to print an entire plane."
This purchase of 3d printer is being looked at as a first step towards achieving their vision, it might seem that they are quite far from building a real 3d printed plane but this small initiative can really work as a catalyst. It’s already a giant leap over the conventional fabrication methods of today as 3D printing facilitates customizable, low-cost and faster production.
"This move will quickly return the investment," he added. "The main advantage of the printer is that you are no longer limited in geometry. For example, when you want to create a space inside a block of aluminum or a ring inside a ring. In addition, we will no longer need to keep storerooms full of spare parts. Missing a part? Print it within hours."
As a part of the modernization strategy, IAF also purchased Industrial robots to replace human interference in the assembly of their Aircrafts. All these development looks and sounds amazing, but couldn’t the Israel government use the same amount of money and resources to fund healthcare research and the welfare of its citizen. Give it a thought!!