News Ticker

US Army Fires 3D-Printed Grenade Launcher

The additive-manufactured RAMBO system includes an NSRDEC-designed standalone kit with printed adjustable buttstock, mounts, grips and other modifications(Credit: US Army/Sunny Burns/ARDEC)

The additive-manufactured RAMBO system includes an NSRDEC-designed standalone kit with printed adjustable buttstock, mounts, grips and other modifications(Credit: US Army/Sunny Burns/ARDEC)

Meet RAMBO: Rapid Additively Manufactured Ballistics Ordnance

153.jpg reports: The US Army’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) has successfully fired the first 3D-printed grenade from a 3D-printed grenade launcher. Part of a demonstration of how such technology can be used to greatly speed up prototyping and modification of weapons while lowering costs, the grenade launcher, called RAMBO (Rapid Additively Manufactured Ballistics Ordnance), was based on an M203A1 grenade launcher and every component, with the exception of the springs and fasteners, was manufactured using additive manufacturing.

R.A.M.B.O.'s printed parts, minus the receiver and barrel. U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center

R.A.M.B.O.’s printed parts, minus the receiver and barrel. U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center

Although the parts used to create RAMBO were made using 3D printing, some additional processing was required based on the material and complexity of the individual components. For example, the aluminum barrel and receiver were made using direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), where a layer of aluminum powder is laid down, then fused into solid metal with a laser beam guided by a digital CAD file. A second layer is them laid down and the process continues until complete. The excess powder is blown away, any support structures are removed, and the part is buffed smooth. However, for the barrel and receiver, some additional machining and tumbling was needed.

3D printed training grenade. Note plastic nose and aluminum sintered body. U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center

3D printed training grenade. Note plastic nose and aluminum sintered body. U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center

One of the advantages of this approach is that the rifling in the barrel was printed directly into the barrel instead of milled out later. The barrel and receiver were then hardened by applying hard-coat anodizing to form a hard, abrasion-resistant outer layer.

ARDEC says that the cost of producing the barrel and receiver was about US$100 per pound. The agency conceded that this is not cheap, but pointed out that the process only took 75 hours, that there was no scrap, and a skilled machinist wasn’t needed to fabricate the parts, resulting in considerable cost savings. … (read more here)

rambo-toy.jpg

The U.S. Army 3D-Printed a Grenade Launcher and Called it R.A.M.B.O.

Of course it’s called Rambo.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: