FORT LIBERTY, NC -- As the Army moves toward increasing readiness and solving problems on a tactical timeline, the 82nd Airborne Division is establishing the foundation to scale additive manufacturing (AM) throughout its formation and beyond.
In order to build this foundation, the Airborne Innovation Lab (AIL) built an additive manufacturing course and recently opened the course to all XVIII Airborne Corps Soldiers. 10th Mountain Division from Fort Drum, NY took advantage of the opportunity and sent Soldiers to attend the course.
Warrant Officer Kha Ton, an Allied Trades Warrant Officer for the 10th Mountain Division, led the charge by providing four of his Soldiers the opportunity to attend.
"It was an amazing opportunity to network and train in addition to what is learned in AIT [advanced individual training]", Ton stated. "The team learned more about CAD/CAM [computer-aided design and computer aided manufacturing] and basic 3D printer operations and maintenance".
Warrant Officer Ton's team is a shop of Allied Trades Specialists (91E). 91Es perform the fabrication, repair, and modification of metallic and nonmetallic parts. An allied trades shop is primarily composed of machining equipment for subtractive manufacturing, however, 91Es are also responsible for leveraging additive manufacturing in order to meet mission requirements.
While 91Es are trained on AM at their AIT, there are limited opportunities to attend additional training as AM technologies rapidly develop.
"[This course] allowed for me to spend designated time on 3D printing," SSG Timothy Madaraka said. "I can take what I've learned about 3D printing back to our shop and create things that we need in the motorpool to get vehicles up and running".
The Airborne Innovation Lab hosts a Basic Additive Manufacturing course every other month in order to support the growing need of skilled 3D printer operators. Soldiers interested in attending can contact email@example.com.