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US Air Force Begins Using 3D Printers For... Toilet Seats

The United States Air Force will begin using 3D printers to print replacement aircraft parts. And what are they starting with? The most important part of a plane. Latrine covers

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  • GIF of a 3d printer printing a white mesh sphere in fast motion
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    Via Giphy

    3D printers have come a long way. 3D printers were actually conceived in the 80s, but they became available to the public around 2007, when the first 3D printer was sold for under $10,000. Since then, the 3D printing technology has improved unprecedentedly and houses can be built by 3D printers in less than 24 hours. And now, the United States Air Force wants in on this innovative technology. 


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  • picture of air force employee fixing a 3d printer
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    Via 3D Print

    The Travis Air Force Base is the only base of the air force that has a 3D printer - the Stratasys F900 3D printer. This isn't a regular 3D printer. It can print parts up to 36-by-24-by-36 inches using Ultem 9085, a thermoplastic that is a fire-retardant, and more dense, flexible and strong than normal plastic. 

    On Moday, the Base announced that it would be using this powerful printer to print out one of the most important nonstructural aircraft parts for the C-5M Super Galaxy plane: latrine covers. You heard me right. Toilet seats. (Apparently they're very important for some people.) 


  • picture of white toilet in white bathroom
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    60th Maintenance Squadron aircraft metals technology section chief MSgt. John Higgs told the media that the latrine covers were printed in 73 hours, which is an unimaginable improvement from their prior waiting time for new latrine seats: a whole year. Why the US Air Force has to wait a whole year to get new toilet covers is beyond me, but they sound pretty chuffed with their new 3D printed "latrine covers." Are they heated? Do sing a little song when you finish? Honestly, after going to Japan, the only toilets that make me happy are these ones


  • picture woman in air force green jumpsuit standing with crossed arms in front of air force plane
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    Via Mindful

    The US Air Force has been playing with 3D printers since 2015, but it appears that they've finally found a very important reason to use them. Good work, Air Force. Better get working on some toilet roll holders next. 


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