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Thread: Raytheon: 3D printed guided missiles

  1. #1
    Moderator Dr Mordrid's Avatar
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    Default Raytheon: 3D printed guided missiles



    http://3dprint.com/81850/3d-printed-guided-missiles/

    3D Printed Guided Missiles are Now a Reality Thanks to Raytheon

    Raytheon is a company that has been around for over 90 years, providing defense weaponry, missile guidance systems, and more to the United States Military. In fact, they are the largest producer in the world of guided missiles, so it would come as no surprise that they would be the ones to innovate the manufacturing process for these weapons.

    3D printing is a technology that has rapidly been adopted into the world of manufacturing. It’s a cheaper, more efficient means of producing products, as well as a way in which companies can more rapidly prototype their various designs. Raytheon has been using and experimenting with the technology for years now, especially in the prototyping process. Now, however, the company says that they have 3D printed just about every component needed for a guided weapon. This includes the 3D printing of the rocket engines, the parts for the guidance and control systems, the fins on the missiles themselves, and more. Moreso, Jeremy Danforth, an engineer at Raytheon, says that the potential is there for missiles to be 3D printed on demand in the field, as needed.

    Like many other high-tech firms, Raytheon has been looking more and more toward 3D printing as a means of fabricating products including the 3D printing of electronic circuits. They are currently in the process of developing a means to print out complex circuits as well as tiny microwave components which can be used in the production of the company’s Patriot air and missile defense system — a long-range, high-altitude, all-weather system that that can counter threats from tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and even aircraft/drones.

    “When we print something, we have fewer piece parts, so your supply chain becomes simpler,” Leah Hull, additive manufacturing manager for Raytheon, said. “Your development cycles are shorter; you’re getting parts much faster. You can get a lot more complex with your design because [you can design] angles you can’t machine into metal.”

    Hull believes that someday the 3D printing of missiles will become a streamlined process that allows for soldiers to print and assemble missiles on the spot. While we are still a ways off from this becoming a reality, due to the fact that a more consistent production method will need to be developed in order to ensure safe, accurately performing weapons, Raytheon already has proven that it’s possible to 3D print these weapons.

    “Before a warfighter can print a missile in the field,” Chris McCarroll, Raytheon director for the Raytheon University of Massachusetts Lowell Research Institute, explained, “you need [a] quality, controlled processes to fabricate all the component materials: the metallic strongbacks, and the plastic connectors, the semiconductors for processors, and the energetics and propulsion systems. The hard part is then making the connections between these components, as an example, the integrated control circuit that receives the command to light the fuse. At some relatively near-term point you may have to place chips down and interconnect them with printing. Or, in the future, maybe you’ll just print them."

    Jeremy Danforth says that Raytheon is currently in the process of 3D printing “demos of many of the seeker components” for their missiles, and other companies have been 3D printing warheads. He says that, so far, his company has printed 80 percent of what would go into an entire working missile.
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  2. #2
    Super MURCer Evildead666's Avatar
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    I think they are trying to re-supply by fabrication on-site, rather than transport the materials or missiles/ammunition themselves.
    Anyone who steals the brute materials, won't be able to do much with them (hopefully) without a 3D printer of their own.

    If this is brought in throughout the ammunition line, there may only be the need for a handful of basic components, to fabricate a plethora of munitions.
    This would be valid from small arms munitions all the way up to missiles.
    It would also mean that you could print ammo for any type of weapon, any calibre.
    No more need to choose what quantity of which calibre you need to take with you on a mission.
    Take what you can carry, and print the rest when needed.

    3D printing is amazing. It will change our way of life eventually.
    Medical, Automotive, cooking, shopping...we could end up 3D printing what we need, and it would have to be recyclable.
    If what millions of people print isn't recyclable, then disaster will follow.

    We only have to learn how to recycle 100% (including ourselves) and we can start exploring the stars.
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    Moderator Dr Mordrid's Avatar
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    Its not just munitions. The Navy is exploring the idea of printed UAV's & parts, and in medicine 3D printed implants are already in use. The University of Michigan C. S. Mott Children's Hospital is implanting printed tracheal splints for children with an anomaly that causes their trachea to collapse, and printed joints, facial and skull bone replacements, and blood vessel prosthetics are in use. Printed organs using tissue cultures as ink and printed collagen scaffolds is in the lab at Duke U. and elsewhere.

    There are multi-material printers in development for creating whole devices from scratch, and in aerospace printed jet engine parts and rocket engines are deep in development - especially at SpaceX. The Dragon 2's SuperDraco abort/landing thrusters have had one flight test and are due for more soon, and the BIG Raptor methane engine will be largely printed including the turbo-machinery. They've been testing its components for over a year. Some outfits are printing circuits and starting work on printing logic elements.

    3D printing is going to change the world.
    Last edited by Dr Mordrid; 26th July 2015 at 12:04.
    Dr. Mordrid
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  4. #4
    Super MURCer Evildead666's Avatar
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    Yup, it is.

    It might also create a HUGE amount of trash.
    Which will have to be dealt with, and not just sending it elsewhere, or paying someone else to treat it.
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    Moderator Dr Mordrid's Avatar
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    Trash? SpaceX said it cut their materials use drastically. It allowed the parts count on an engine nozzle to be reduced by about 90%.
    Dr. Mordrid
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  6. #6
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    I'm saying you don't get it right on the first try, and all the "attempts" will add up to trash.
    They should be fully recyclable, if possible.
    Imagine everyone on the planet has 3D printer, and all take 20 trys to get a good model done.
    Thats a lot of trash.

    Once you get it right, yes, it would cut down costs hugely on complex parts, and enable much sturdier complex parts.
    I'm just not sure what the current ethos is with the 3D printing crowd with respect to the recyclability of the waste.

    If they can get it right almost every time on the first try, then the waste is not a problem.
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  7. #7
    Moderator Dr Mordrid's Avatar
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    The open source community is already there with repositories of working designs and development. Most are white hats, but there are definitely black hats. Either way, the day of a multimaterial home printer and Amazon sending it the design for what you've ordered is coming. Epson is already working on the industrial version.
    Dr. Mordrid
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