The Pentagon showed its interest in 3D printing. The agency seeks to launch a $60 million 3D printing research and educational program. The funding will go to agencies, companies and academics to advance the 3D printing techniques. Their goal is cheaper and faster manufacturing of aerospace and defense parts.
The program is part of a $1 billion White House initiative called the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. In this program a network will be built of 14 institutes to spur ideas on improving domestic manufacturing. Several federal agencies, including Defence, the Energy Department and the National Science Foundation will be responsible for managing this program.
Defense expects to fund $30 million from fiscal 2012 through 2014. The majority of funding (18.8 million) is expected to be spent in fiscal 2012.
The Pentagon is, as we speak, soliciting nonprofit organizations and universities to launch the pilot. A proposer’s day for the pilot program will be held May 16. Proposals are due on June 14. The expectations are that this Pentagon participation in 3D printing is going to give the market quite a boost.