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Coast Guard Develops 3-D Printing Expertise


Coast Guard Cutter Healy is one of five cutters participating in the Research and Development Center’s project on 3-D printing. During the 2017 Arctic Technology Evaluation, which began July 19, 3-D printing was used to aid in the evaluation of an unmanned underwater system (UUS) and unmanned maritime system (UMS). Printed parts included, from left: fin protector and control rudder for the UUS and a servo arm for the UMS. U.S. Coast Guard graphic.

The Coast Guard Research and Development Center (RDC) is rapidly expanding its knowledge of additive manufacturing techniques, also called 3-D printing.

The RDC is evaluating 3-D printing as a way to produce replacement parts that may take weeks or months to get from a manufacturer or that may be out of production. 3-D printers have been installed on board five Coast Guard cutters as well as at several operational shore units, including Base New Orleans, and the Surface Forces Logistics Center Engineering Services Division in Baltimore.

A recent article on the Coast Guard Compass blog examines the project in detail.

For more information: Research, Development, Test and Evaluation program page