"The Pentagon and the defense industry are rapidly expanding the use of 3D printing to make parts and tools for more sophisticated military equipment," Defense One reports.
"The technology—which makes manufacturing more agile and wastes very little material—is already being used aboard the USS Essex, a U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship."
Said Adm. James Winnefeld: "The crew has printed everything from plastic syringes to oil tank caps, to the silhouettes of planes that are used on the mock-up of the flight deck to keep the flight deck organized."
"The Navy is still 'several years away' from being able to print spare parts for ships and airplanes, but 'that day will surely come,' he said. DOD is using these 3D printing machines across the military services. An item can be printed from an electronic blueprint or scanning an existing part. The U.S. Navy has about 70 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, projects at dozens of sites, Winnefeld said."