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ONE FOR THE 3D PRINTING SCRAPBOOK: WEAPONS OF MASS PRODUCTION

As most readers here know, one of the "memes" we've been tracking is the emergence of 3-d printing as as media-driven "meme," and I have stated publicly, and outlined various hypotheses as to why this may be taking place. One of them, which I advanced very early on, was that 3-d printing represents the ability to disperse complex manufacturing facilities, precisely what one would do in a situation where manufacturing was under some implicit strategic threat, and one wished to maintain a manufacturing capability, crucial to sustain modern military operations. I've also suggested that it is my strong suspicion that while 3-d printing has been around for a while, it ultimately emerged from black projects research.

There's been a bit of confirmation, lately, of both the military aspects of the technology, and an admission that it has been around, quietly investigated, for some time, and these come from two regulars here, Ms. George Ann Hughes of The Byte Show, and Ms. P.H.

First, note that 3d Printing is being adapted to the mass manufacture of warheads by the US Army:

Weapons of mass production: US Army making warheads with 3D printing

And consider the implications of these statements:

“Warheads could be designed to meet specific mission requirements whether it is to improve safety to meet an Insensitive Munitions requirement, or it could have tailorable effects, better control, and be scalable to achieve desired lethality,” Zunino said.

And while the US Army is attracted to 3D printing’s ability to offer more efficient mechanisms for killing, the cost-effectiveness at a time of budgetary cutbacks is enticing as well.

“3D printing also allows for integrating components together to add capabilities at reduced total life cycle costs,” Zunino said. “It is expected that 3D printing will reduce life-cycle costs of certain items and make munitions more affordable in the long run through implementation of design for manufacturability, and capitalizing on the add capabilities that 3D printing and additive manufacturing can bring to munitions and warheads.”

Zunino added that the Army is not likely to stop at mere component manufacturing.

“Maybe someday an entire warhead or rocket could be produced as the technology further matures,” Zunino said.

Printing weaponry in 3D doesn’t stop with the Pentagon. Defense giant BAE Systems announced in January that the British Royal Air Force’s Tornado fighter jets have performed their first flights with some onboard metal parts manufactured using 3D-printing technology."

Dispersing such manufacturing capability makes targeting such facilities a nightmare... with a bit of hyperbole, it is conceivable that very small contractors could produce high-tech components for ballistic missiles, nuclear weapons, and so on, in their garage, so to speak. The current military use of thee technology suggests that it was used in this capacity covertly, in very deep black projects, for a very long time, for consider the implications of these statements:

"Traditional manufacturing methods are no match for what 3D printers can offer such weapons of mass destruction. 3D-processed components could allow for superior design such as the ability to “pack in additional payloads, sensors, and safety mechanisms,” Motherboard wrote."

In other words, 3D printing is a technology that seems to have been deliberately designed to allow the manufacture of very complex technologies by means that ordinary engineering could not handle, and this betokens an application not just to warheads and so on, but to much more exotic technologies, and hence, is a corroboration that the technology ultimately originated within the black projects world itself. It is now simply being applied to more mundane military technologies like ICBMs and jet fighters.

A second corroboration of this idea comes from the following, where NASA seems to be admitting that they've been researching 3D printing in space in connection to materials science research for decades(this courtesy of Ms. P.H.):

NASA Urged to Accelerate 3D Printing on Space Station

Consider the following statement carefully, for the context is suggestive:

"But the use of 3D printing in space requires a strong understanding of materials science to make it work. NASA has been doing experiments in this area since the Skylab space station of the 1970s, Latiff said. He urged tighter integration between scientists and manufacturers as they seek other uses of 3D technology."

Too be sure, NASA has been openly performing materials science experiments in space for some time; what is intriguing here is that the language is just slightly ambiguous, and just barely permits one to conclude that it has been doing 3D printing experiments for decades, but very covertly, in connection with materials science research in space, in the extremes of temperature, and in lower gravity.

And that should make everyone sit up and take notice: space, materials engineering, 3d printing, military manufacturing, strategic dispersal of manufacturing... it is a strange mix indeed, and one wonders, just what weird things one might be doing up there with the non-public forms of the technology. (Art's Parts, anyone?)

See you on the flip side...

 

10 thoughts on “ONE FOR THE 3D PRINTING SCRAPBOOK: WEAPONS OF MASS PRODUCTION”

  1. Weapons of mass production.. and/or mass production of weapons.. either way, u get the idea

  2. First the good news remember the late Hyman Rickover compliant about the screw job over price parts the great patriotic business sold to the military. With this technology could put a end to that rip off scam. Bad news using this technology to turn out real life terminators and dalaks to dispose of us proles. Well just wondering what Hamas and the PLO could use this technology to defend the Palestinians in the Gaza and West Bank pleasant dreams Benjamin Netanyahu.

  3. Robert Barricklow

    I reminded in reading about this highly advance technology, time released for purposes highly questionable at best; I reminded of Wilhelm Von Humboldt’s “Bildung”/the fullest, richest and most harmonious development of the potentialities of the individual, the community, and the human race. For mankind to inquire and create; awakening the mind/spirit.
    Instead it is war, which has throughout history been waged for conquest & plunder. That is war in a nutshell. The master class has always declared war at the subject’s class expense. And why is there a need for war; knowing that need is the most terrible master of them all?
    State intervention in social life is legitimate if “freedom would destroy the very conditions w/o which not only freedom but even existence itself would be inconceivable”. So why do exactly that? Because that is precisely the circumstances that arise in an unconstrained capitalistic society.
    Before at this site I wrote about wetiko from the book Columbus Is A Cannibal: The Wetiko Disease of Exploitation, Imperialism & Terrorism by Jack D. Forbes(Nov 4 2008). In it he says: To adjust to a wetiko society is to become insane.
    I can’t help to be reminded of such when I read this post of 3D Printing of Weapons of Mass Production.

  4. Just what raw materials are they finding on the moon? And asteroids? Is part of their research and development of 3D printing the use of these materials in lieu of the ones used on earth? Could they develop bombs, etc with those materials as a replacement for some of the parts that are used here? If so, the weaponization of space just got a lot scarier.

  5. “it ultimately emerged from black projects research.”

    “is a corroboration that the technology ultimately originated within the black projects world itself”

    Intuition and speculation are fine. Facts are helpful too.

    Who Made That 3-D Printer? – NYTimes.com
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/24/magazine/who-made-that-3-d-printer.html?_r=1&

    The first working 3D printer was invented by Chuck Hull (his patent dates to 1984)
    Who invented the 3D printer? – Quora
    https://www.quora.com/Who-invented-the-3D-printer

    Even Charles Hull, the man who invented 3D printing, thinks the hype surrounding the technology has gone too far
    Chill out about 3D printing, inventor of 3D printing says | Network World
    http://www.networkworld.com/article/2226887/opensource-subnet/chill-out-about-3d-printing–inventor-of-3d-printing-says.html

    Early AM equipment and materials were developed in the 1980s.[3] In 1984, Chuck Hull of 3D Systems Corp,[4] invented a process known as stereolithography employing UV lasers to cure photopolymers.
    3D printing – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3D_printing

  6. This may have logistical implications for deployed forces, too. No longer would long re-supply lines / strategic lines of communication have to move enormous stocks of diverse parts and ammunitions. In-theare 3d manufacturing would only require the necessary raw materials, drastically simplifying the effort. Plus, more of the raw materials could be sourced locally or through commercial distributions channels.

    Handy to have 3-d printing on things like nuclear submarines or long-range manned space exploration vehicles, as these would similarly only require the stock raw materials in order to be quasi self-sufficient in terms of spare parts and repairing damaged / worn systems.

    I wonder what happens when this technology is mated with the reputed alchemical one?

  7. Rather than making targeting more difficult, dispersed manufacturing would seem to encourage the use of EMP and the targeting of civilians as legitimate military targets, or at least the ability to argue such.

    Furthermore, this technology could also take asymetric warfare to new levels, as individuals are able to manufacture weapons, and conceivably, ammunition and launch/delivery systems in every house on every street. This will revolutionize warfare (an adjective I choose advisedly) and democratize weapons systems in ways we can just begin to imagine.

    It seems quite feasible that one could print a solid-fuel booster and a bunker-busting warhead in short order. It’s just a matter of raw materials.

    1. Indeed.

      Or even worse than an EMP weapon, bomb, with nuclear weapons, the mine for ore of whatever material, under the idea that the mine is likely not in a city, nor will a city be built there in the future, so the horrid contamination won’t kill and or poison too many people.

      And then once the mine is contaminated no one would work there to extract the raw ore, all seems an obvious bottle neck in anything like the long term use of 3D printing for dispersed manufacturing.

  8. “Dispersing such manufacturing capability makes targeting such facilities a nightmare… with a bit of hyperbole, it is conceivable that very small contractors could produce high-tech components for ballistic missiles, nuclear weapons, and so on, in their garage, so to speak”

    Such dispersed facilities can only keep producing as long as the refined materials are at hand to feed into the 3D printing machines. And it’s not like the refinement of those materials is easy. Aluminum needs large amounts of electricity to separate it from bauxite, and needs argon for isolation during welding. Titanium has all sorts of handling problems. Then polycarbonite has to be made out of refined oil products. So there would seem to be a lot of places where the materials to be printed could simply be destroyed or have the supply chain easily disrupted.

    Right with electricity and the materials, 3 guys in a garage can build much more today than in 1970. But a similar leap occurred between 1930 and 1970.

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