June 14, 2014

The FBI Is getting its own 3D printer for inspecting bombs, nextgov reports on Saturday. "The bureau has a requirement for a Stratasys Objet24 Desktop Personal 3D printer to support the advanced technical exploitation of evolving and existing high technology explosive devices," the federal contracting papers state.

The Stratasys Objet24 creates true-to-life models and can print in layers thinner than a human hair. It has a build envelope of 240 x 200 x 150 mm (9.45 x 7.87 x 5.9 in) and features 28-micron, high-resolution printing, strong materials and smooth, paintable surfaces.

"The 3D printer is cutting-edge technology that will be used by the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDAC) to enhance their capabilities in exploiting improvised explosive devices," or IEDs, FBI spokeswoman Ann Todd told nextgov.

Quantico based TEDAC is dedicated to the study of flammables collected from the military, police organizations and international partners. Since its creation in 2003, TEDAC has collected almost 80,000 Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) and receives about 800 deliveries a month. Using traditional and innovative scientific tools and techniques TEDAC reconstruct the mechanisms, and provide reports on the bomb making activities of terrorists around the globe to front line personnel including soldiers, FBI bomb technicians and law enforcement personnel.

The TEDAC is a joint partnership with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the DoD Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization. Last year, ATF joined its counterparts in Austria, Germany, and elsewhere in purchasing 3D printers and testing 3D printed guns. The ATF used the blueprints from internet to print the plastic gun on a 3-D printer.

The ATF published a series of videos of the tests on YouTube showing what looked like a Liberator model of a 3D gun exploding upon being fired. The ATF's testing showed that the weapon, while not quite as powerful as most guns, could penetrate several inches of soft flesh as well as a human skull.

In the federal contracting papers, FBI states that "the Objet24 Desktop Personal 3D printer is the only instrument capable of producing the high accuracy and resolution results to meet Agency testing standards. The printer also is the only one capable of meeting FBI support data recovery and thermal environment requirements. The Objet24 model is the only 3D printer that satisfies all the technical requirements of the FBI."

The recommended retail price for the Objet24 starts at $19,900.

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

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