Bustos and Durbin Visit Arsenal to Commemorate 'The World's Largest Metal 3D Printer'
Next Spring, the Rock Island Arsenal will be the home of the world’s largest 3-D metal printer.
On Monday, Illinois U-S Senator Dick Durbin and Moline Congresswoman Cheri Bustos visited the Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center to show off the warehouse space where the 3D printer will be installed. Ingersoll Machine Tools in Rockford is currently building it.
Major General Darren Warren, Commander of the Tank-automotive and Armaments Command says the ‘Jointless Hull Large Format Tool’ is a hybrid.
"Because it also has 3D capabilities, so it can not only 3D print, but it can machine the part after you get done printing. You can come back and machine it to its final dimensions."
The 3D metal printer will have the capability to make parts up to 30 feet long, 20 feet wide, and 12 feet tall. The manufacturing center’s previous 3D printing capabilities were limited to the size of what the Major General says could fit in a microwave.
Warren says the printer will build parts using a higher grade of aluminum that will be lighter. And it will print safer tank parts to protect the soldiers inside.
"...and then its welded together. Those seems ae the weak spot of the hull, so if there's anyway we can reduce or eliminate those seems, it's going to protect the occupants of that vehicle much more."
The Jointless Hull Large Format Tool will be installed at the Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center to begin producing parts in May of 2023.