3-d printer

They buzz they annoy they kill. The drone army fleet is about to get a lot bigger. Armed with the latest in 3-d print technology and Plasma-jet metal cutting, small outposts are able to push a button and out pops a death drone five minutes later. It’s the latest push for self sufficient army field posts in the remote regions of Afghanistan.

At Camp Nathan Smith outside of Kandahar, there’s a 20-foot cargo container loaded with a 3D printer, a computer-controlled machine for cutting metal, and a couple of Ph.D.s. It’s one of three REF “expeditionary labs” placed around Afghanistan that can quickly design and prototype tools for troops on the ground right now.

The Nathan Smith team, on the screen above, printed up new bolt links for the M240 machine gun on their remote weapons system when the old ones broke. They coded a program that plots enemy attacks on Google Earth. And over the course of three weeks, they built in the lab new adapters that extended the battery life of their metal detectors from 45 minutes to 30 hours. The Army liked the adapters so much, they ordered up another 2,000, which will be distributed all over Afghanistan.

But really, if they wanted to win the war, they’d take the 3-d printer and print up 3-d face plots of locals, toys for the kids, cranks for wells, and the latest iPhone covers. That’s the real strategy to getting us out of Afghanistan. Just make sure they all say “Allah Blesses The Americans”.