3D printed drones for Ukrainian Army!

Rumors About the Ukrainian Army Using 3D Printed Drones Are True!

http://goo.gl/WBOshj

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If you are at all following international news then you know that the situation along the Ukrainian/Russian border is extremely dangerous. The geopolitical implications of this war, if not settled, could potentially spill over into surrounding areas, ultimately leading to widespread chaos in the region. With this said, there is a glimmer of hope, as this week an international team reached a cease-fire agreement after marathon peace talks in Minsk. Although all the details of the cease-fire have yet to be completely ironed out, it will go into effect at midnight tonight. The bloody confrontation has been anything but peaceful thus far, so any sign of a cease-fire should be well received by civilians on both sides of the battle.

In the midst of all this, the Ukrainian Army is using 3D printing and drone technology in quite an interesting way, perhaps saving human lives on the battlefield. Volunteers are funding and 3D printing aerial drones in the Robotics Lab at the Step IT Academy in Kyiv. These drones have been put to use by the Ukrainian Army as a way to monitor the situation that’s been developing with the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine from a safe distance.

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Dmytro Franchuk, Deputy Head of the Robotics Lab, is heading up this initiative, already having produced 30 3D printed drones, which are being used in battle. The lab, on average, has been using 20kg of thermoplastic per day within several 3D printers. The drones, which can capture images as far away as 2.5 kilometers, can stay in the air for up to 20 minutes at a time.

Each drone costs approximately $1,200 to 3D print (most of the expense is in the human capital, not the materials themselves), and another $3,000 in other sophisticated equipment is required. This, however, is compared to the typical $30,000 cost for similar drones which are not 3D printed.

Franchuk is a busy man apparently, as he is both fighting on the front lines as well as from the lab.

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“As I was the only developer of drones in the lab, I also had to go to the war front to teach soldiers how to work with them. It took time I could use for production,” Franchuk says.

Approximately 90% of all the parts in each of the 30 drones are in fact 3D printed on any of the three machines that the lab has acquired. The 3D printers themselves cost just $1,600, and are currently used 24/7, producing these battle drones as well as other gadgets.

We will know soon if this cease-fire will hold up, or crumble like the last one. In the meantime Ukrainian volunteers will continue producing these 3D printed drones for their army in the event that such an agreement with Russia should deteriorate.

Let’s hear your thoughts on this incredible use of 3D printing in the Ukraine 3D Printed Drone forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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3DPRINT.COM
by  | FEBRUARY 14, 2015
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3D printed food for soldiers!

Feeling Hungry? Check out what’s on the menu for the future soldiers of America!

http://www.npr.org/…/361187352/army-eyes-3d-printed-food-fo…

Army researchers will try to find ways to 3-D print nutritious food with less heavy packaging than the current military meals.

Army scientists have spent decades concocting meals that last without refrigeration and survive high-altitude airdrops. And now, the Army is eyeing a new form of cooking: 3-D printing! Yes, food that comes fresh out of a printer, for our troops.

Lauren Oleksyk, a food technologist leading the team at the Army’s Natick research center, lays out the vision.

Imagine soldiers who are strapped, head to toe, with sensors that measure if they’re high or low in potassium or cholesterol.

“We envision to have a 3-D printer that is interfaced with the soldier. And that sensor can deliver information to the computer software,” Oleksyk says. “And then they would be able to have either powdered or liquid matrices that are very nutrient dense, that they have on demand that they can take and eat immediately to fill that need.”

“Liquid matrices” that are nutrient “dense.” And you print them?!

You read that right.

The Army is turning to 3-D printers for many purposes, including a nutrition project — to stamp out the equivalent of PowerBars, but personalized for the battlefield.

The Department of Defense has just approved research funding. And it’s going to take a lot of research. While regular printers put ink on paper, 3-D printers blast liquids and powders into complex shapes. But it’s not clear if printers could mold a solid like carrots — and what would happen to the food’s nutritional value.

“There’s synthetic types of meats, there’s real beef, there’s real meat,” Oleksyk says. “And we would see what that does in the printing process to that protein, whether it’s animal based or plant based.” She’s talking about this research with the MIT Lincoln Lab and NASA too.

Of course, the 3-D food will have to pass a taste test, just like the current rations — which are called MREs, or meals ready to eat.

Oleksyk mailed me a bunch to sample. I try a jalapeno pepper jack-flavored patty. It is full of flavor, and also very processed, like someone had to jam a lot into a little patty.

The kitchens that make this patty use flaming hot ovens and extreme heat to sterilize it. Oleksyk says if 3-D printers could use less heat, the patty could also taste better — less like a compact muscle and more like fresh ground meat.

“We hope so! It’s not being done, so it’s something that we will investigate in our project,” she says.

In the food world, 3-D printing is just getting started — and it’s a sweet start, literally.

Liz von Hasseln is giving me an online video tour of The Sugar Lab, a 3-D printing outfit in Los Angeles that turns sugar into sweet candy sculptures for wedding cakes and fancy cocktails. The startup was acquired by 3D Systems, which is sharing its technology with the military in informal talks.

She points to a printer that’s the size of an industrial photocopier and explains, “What the printer does is, a lot like making frosting in a bowl, it basically adds the wet ingredients of the frosting to the dry ingredients very, very precisely in very fine layers.”

Von Hasseln sent me some samples to try — and they’re very different from the military food. I unwrap a delicate sphere that’s a little bigger than a lollipop. It tastes like Sweet Tarts.

It’s hard for me to imagine this technology producing anything nutritious or durable. But von Hasseln husband, Kyle, co-founder of The Sugar Lab, says the printer’s ability to vary textures — to make food soft or hard — would be critical for soldiers who are injured or on the move.

“Dialing in the exact density of food could mean that they could eat more easily and because of that, as a consequence, they might even eat more or be healthier,” he says.

3-D printed food sounds sci-fi. But according to military scientists and 3-D experts, these meals for soldiers are on track to be ready by 2025.

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