3D Printing Spare Parts

South Korean Military Starts Using 3D Printing

South Korea

It’s not often that a military branch shares its secrets with the rest of the world, but reports have started to surface that the South Korean military are now using metal 3D printing.


According to the news agency Yonhap, the country’s Ministry of Defense is using 3D printers to manufacture parts for the Air Force and the Army.

Over the past few years, the military branches of many nations have been testing metal 3D printing technology for a more cost effective solution as it can quickly manufacture a wide range of parts. For example, China began using 3D printers to manufacture spare parts for warships at the beginning of the year. These printers were on the warships for times of trouble.

Why is South Korea Using 3D Printing?

One of the main reasons why 3D printing technology is used is to save costs. In example, transport aircraft speaker covers made in Europe have to be imported and are both expensive and time-consuming to make. They cost up to 700,000 Won ($612 USD) and take up to seven months to manufacture.

With 3D printing, these parts can be produced in Korea for 40,000 Won ($35 USD) and can be produced within 4 or 5 hours. Training aircraft parts have also already been 3D printed, reportedly saving the Ministry up to 3 million Won ($2600 USD).

Another main reason for choosing to use 3D printing technology is to reduce the dependency on foreign made parts that might not be available in times of increased political tension and already some discontinued parts have also been hard to source.

However, many parts cannot be manufactured with metal 3D printing technology yet and in some cases might not be as structurally sound. But, according to press reports, the South Korean Ministry of Defense is already looking into expanding the range of 3D printing options shortly including helicopter parts.

What do you think of these advancements? Do you think this technology will only be used for good?