SEA POWER article - The Promise of 3D Printing

The Promise of 3D Printing

Additive manufacturing technology can shave time, cost from naval applications

by EDWARD LUNDQUIST, Special Correspondent, SEA POWER magazine, Navy League of the United States, October 2013, pp. 44-47.

  Rapid Prototyping

  • 3D objects can be made by building up many 2D layers.
  • Additive manufacturing (AM) can create parts with inner mechanisms and embedded electronics.
  • Cost is not driven by complexity.
  • Being able to create objects with the click of a mouse may seem too good to be true, but AM technology is a reality today.

additive manufacturing game play complete - viewing remains open

additive manufacturing game play complete - viewing remains open

The am game has completed active play, but remains open for browsing as well as viewing of comprehensive reports showing all 2000+ Idea Cards and 26 player-rated Action Plans.

Thanks go to 140 players for many impressive results! Please keep an eye on this blog for further feedback and review.

MMOWGLI games remain available online

MMOWGLI games remain available online

free falling

Notice to players: the MMOWGLI game infrastructure is continuing to operate during the federal government shutdown.

Participants remain encouraged to play. Privacy requirements remain unchanged.  You can submit a Trouble Report if needed.

Once again, with feeling:  play the game, change the game!

Vote - let us know your favored Action Plans

Game Players:  The Action Plans have been completed.  It is now time for you to let the Navy know which of these plans are your favorites.  Voting will continue through Wednesday.  

Vote!  Make a difference!

Bill Frazier


Great Job Players!

There have been nearly 2000 idea cards played and we have 23 Action Plans underway.  

It is not too late to initiate, write or amend an Action Plan.  Action Plans will be finalized on Monday evening and closed from further adjustments.  So, please do engage now!  This is your opportunity to point the Navy in the right direction.

Bill Frazier

Endgame Extension

Endgame Extension

There is still more to say... so we are extending the am MMOWGLI Additive Manufacturing Game for a few more days to encourage completion of all Action Plans.

  • Monday SEP 30 is last day for completing an Action Plan.
  • Tuesday-Wednesday OCT 1-2 are final days for voting.
  • Game concludes Wednesday evening OCT 2
The comprehensive listings of all am MMOWGLI Idea Cards and all am MMOWGLI Action Plans are available online.

Play the game, change the game!

Action Plan Mania

Players, we've talked about a wide variety of subjects as they relate to additive manufacturing, addressing our Navy's challenges of today and transformations of tomorrow.  As you can imagine, with this vast landscape of ideas comes a level of integration.  That is, there comes a time when we need to "put it all together."  So far we've kept our focus on generating Idea Card sentences, with each idea (meaning each sentence) staying within 140 characters.  Adding them up, sometimes the idea card chains converge and sometimes they diverge.  Nevertheless each is valuable and a potentially rich source of concepts for the present or future. 

In order to develop these Idea Cards, MMOWGLI has a feature called an Action Plan.  Action Plans are the who, what, why, when, and where of a single Idea Card. This template is your space to collaborate and really dial in on the ideas you've shared so far.  Action Plans aren't just words on a page.  They take advantage of the various ways in which people collaborate.  In an Action Plan, players can upload Images, Video, to express and support their plans.  

So far we have 15 Action Plans, but there's still time for more.  To request creation of an Action Plan, simply fill out an Action Plan Request form.  At the bottom of your screen select "Trouble Report."  Then click on the "Action Plan Request" button. 


This is your chance to really leave your mark. Plus, there are points associated with Action Plan creation, contribution, and rating. There's still time to take the #1 spot on the leaderboard!

End Game Planning - Filling In The Blanks

End Game Planning - Filling In The Blanks

For Wednesday and Thursday, our primary focus is on Action Plan Development.  Players are strongly encouraged to initiate and collaborate on finishing their go-forward plans.  How can we best execute the excellent concepts and ideas generated over the past two weeks? 

On Friday we will begin final voting on all of the Action Plans, so authors need to finish by then!  The game organizers are also adding a few more days so that everyone gets a chance to vote.  The am game finishes on Monday night, September 30.

This is a great opportunity for each of us to help the Navy "steer the ship."

Your Turn to Drive

Players, it's again your chance to tell us what's been missing.  Together we have worked through all of the prepared topics for additive manufacturing.  Rather than stopping the game here, we are going to fully 'unlock' the game.  This allows you to create your own top-level questions and answers.  

As a result, we have unlocked the “Root Cards” for play.  If there are unexplored areas that need to be addressed, here is your opportunity to add them to the mix.  New Seed Card ideas will continue to be introduced each day.  You can always continue to play cards introduced earlier in the game as well.  The comprehensive listings of all am MMOWGLI Idea Cards and all am MMOWGLI Action Plans are available online.

So... how do you think AM could help solve current Navy challenges, or transform the Navy of the future?  Simply click on the top level "Today's Navy" or "Tomorrow's Navy" cards and enter in your own seed of an idea.  When creating your own seed cards it's a good idea to review what's been played in the past so that you don't duplicate other ideas, so make use of the idea dashboard and the search function before you play.  We're excited to see where you might take us.

Seed Card Ideas for Today: How can AM save the Navy money, right now?

Last but not least: the Navy continues to face extraordinary budget pressure.  Are there any opportunities right now to reduce costs?  Key questions for Navy leadership include

  • Card 1955. How can the Navy significantly reduce its costs (and save real money) in ifiscal years 2014-2015 through the immediate use of AM technology?
  • Card 1956. How can the Navy reduce its costs in fiscal year (FY) 2016 and beyond, through strategic implementation of AM technology?

Maybe there is a big opportunity nearby?  Let's find out together.

Qualification and Certification

Qualification and Certification

The qualification of AM material processes & equipment, and the certification of AM fabricated components are of critical concern to the Navy.  The Navy’s process for qualification and certification ensures safe, consistent, and reliable performance of its equipment.  It addresses three important questions.  Has the materials technology been developed and standardized?  Has the materials technology been fully characterized?  Has the materials technology been demonstrated? 

AM presents challenges to this paradigm.  There are a large number of AM pieces of equipment.  AM processes are frequently tailored to produce the part desired.  Part properties are build-path and orientation dependent.  AM process parameters are frequently “managed” (i.e., changed) during the part fabrication process. 

As a consequence, AM parts can be qualified in one of two methods. 

1. Individual AM parts can be separately qualified based upon statistically substantiate test data for that part.  This is too costly to promote wide spread use of AM.

2. A data from multiple AM processes, parts, etc can be pooled to form the database from which design limits are based. 

This method leads to heavier, overly designed components that frequently cannot buy their way on to the system.  Further, they typically cannot be used as drop in replacement parts because they must be redesigned.    

How can we expedite the qualification of AM parts at an affordable price?  How can we accelerate the process so we can produce AM parts on demand when and where they are needed? 

Today's Navy

  • Card 1840. Easily accessibly pedigreed property data is needed.
  • Card 1841. Knowledge of defects peculiar to AM is required.
  • Card 1842. How will we qualifying & certifying made on demand AM parts?

Tomorrow's Navy

  • Card 1843. Qualification and Certification cost too much & take too long.
  • Card 1844. Linking part geometry, process variables, microstructure, and properties could accelerate AM insertion.
  • Card 1845. A new technological, vice a process modification approach is needed for qualification.

Advanced Materials Monday

Advanced Materials Monday

Way to go players!  Over 1700 Idea Cards have been played in the AM MMOWGLI game so far. 

For those Weekend Warriors who participated in our Special Operations, congratulations on sucessfully assuming your role as the Navy decision maker.  Just because the weekend is over, does not mean you can't keep your command post!  All cards are open for continued play.

Today's theme will be advanced materials.

Currently, the suite of materials used in additive manufacturing (AM) is very limited.  Please consider the fact that Navy’s inventory of parts is fabricated from a broad range of specialized materials.  Complex thermomechanical processes are frequently employed to achieve optimum properties.  Further, a single component typically consists of multiple materials and is frequently coated to prevent corrosion, wear, etc.

How can we expand the suite of materials suitable for AM?  Can we develop new materials specifically designed to take advantage of AM’s unique processing conditions? What will it take to process dissimilar materials?

Share your ideas and thoughts now by playing on one of the cards below.

Today's Navy:

  • Card 1687. What classes of components/materials hold the greatest potential for near term applications?
  • Card 1688. Availability of materials for AM need to be expanded-wider range of sizes and compositions.
  • Card 1689. How can the Navy reduce the cost and ensure the quality of today's AM materials?

Tomorrow's Navy:

  • Card 1690. How can AM be used to make systems composed of many different types of materials?
  • Card 1691. How can the advantages of AM be combined to leverage the benefits of nano-materials and nano-technology?
  • Card 1692. If there were not constraints, what would you print (e.g. air vehicle, ship, etc)?

Great Weekend as the Navy Decision Maker; Up Next Advanced Materials

Players, great job this weekend putting yourselves into the shoes of the Navy decision makers.  I wish to point out that these cards along with all the previously played cards will be open for play through  27 September.

Tomorrow we will be emphasizing Advanced AM Materials.  What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current suite of AM mateirals?   What are their limitations?  What can be done to improve them.  What unique AM processing features could unleash the potential of advanced materials.  Think structural, gradient, functional, biological, electronic, nano and metamaterials.  

Play, innovate, enjoy!

Bill Frazier

Weekend Special Operations

Weekend Special Operations: YOU are the Navy Decision Maker

Congratulations players! Over 1400 Idea Cards played in the first week of the am MMOWGLI game! Together, we've explored a wide range of topics related to additive manufacturing. As we move into the weekend, we're assigning you to conduct special operations in which YOU are the Navy Decision Maker.

How we should invest in AM is now up to you.

In today’s austere budget environment, the Navy resources available to invest in advanced technology are limited.  The Navy needs to use its scarce resources wisely and strategically.  As the Navy decision maker, how would you implement AM technology?  What are the critical areas of investment for today and tomorrow?  Why might you invest in AM vice other important technology areas?  What kind of budgetary environment will our future Sailors and leaders have to operate in? What are the second and third order effects of your decision? How can you as decision makers work together?

So set your heading and full speed ahead!  Play an Idea Card now.  Here are the latest starting points:

  • Today's Navy, Card 1570. As a Navy decision maker, what investments would you make in AM technology and why?
  • Tomorrow's Navy, Card 1571. As a Navy Decision maker, what would be your long-term investment in AM technology and strategy and why?

... and then, on to the next level.  How do these great ideas gain traction? 

Having a great idea is just the first step.  In the MMOWGLI game, and in real life, you also need to "build a backstory" and get multiple other players involved.  Usually the best way to do this is by getting lots of pros/cons/alternatives on your original Idea Card Chain.  These also reveal other players who care about your topic.

Take Action.  If you and other players have a cool concept, then it is time to build on your ideas.  To earn even more points, become Action Plan co-authors.  You want to clearly tell everyone the who, what, when, where, how and why of your concept so that they vote to support it.

Building an Action Plan is all about collaboration. The MMOWGLI Game Instructions can help you learn more about how to write an Action Plan.

Please fill in an Action Plan Request to request creation of a new plan.  Game masters will consider your request and create the plan (or provide further guidance).  You will need a simple first-draft outline for you and your collaborators to use as a starting point.

Getting diversity of opinion into a single Action Plan often makes it stronger.  Authors can chat together in their plan to figure out how to best proceed.

Sometimes further action is needed before a good decision is possible - say so in your plan, others may be able to help.  Sometimes it even makes sense to split competing approaches into two separate Action Plans (such as "Let's Turn Left" and "Let's Turn Right") to let each plan compete on which path forward might be most productive.  Game masters can help you focus on the right problem.

Authoring tip.  MMOWGLI will warn you if any of your Action Plan entries get a bit long-winded.  That's OK, you can still save all your deathless prose, nothing is lost.  Getting the ideas down first with your collaborators is half the battle, then work to make them more succinct so that others can easily understand your points.

Wisdom of the Crowd.  Action Plans not only let you influence top-level decision makers, they also let you influence... everyone.  All players get to vote on which plans they think are great, and which plans might need more work.  After the game, everyone else can read your group's ideas too.  High stakes!

Looking forward to more great thoughts this weekend.  Play the game, change the game!

(This message will self destruct and additively reconstruct in three, two, one seconds...)

Enhance Mission Effectiveness - Improve Lifecycle Sustainment

Enhance Mission Effectiveness - Improve Lifecycle Sustainment

A well maintained, mission capable Fleet is critical to the Navy’s effectiveness.  Additive Manufacturing (AM) is being explored as a means to reduce the cost and time associated with repair and maintenance (greater than 60% of the life cycle costs of a weapon system are spent on operation and sustainment).

Today we focus on how AM can be put to use today, and how it might transform our concept of lifecycle sustainment for tomorrow.  How might AM be used on deployed ships and submarines?  How can AM increase aircraft ready for tasking?  How can AM be used to conserve energy and promote a “green” Navy?  

Today's Navy:

Tomorrow's Navy:

Life Cycle Sustainment

Today, Thursday, was a great day of game play exploring Design Innovations.  

Tomorrow, Friday, we explore how additive manufacturing (AM) will revolutionize Navy maintenance and sustainment.  AM can produce needed parts when and where they are needed at lower cost.  This could significantly improve operational availability and mission readiness of the Navy's systems by reducing maintenance cost and time.  Worn and broken parts may be repaired saving the expense of buying new parts.  Tooling, dies, and fixtures can be rapidly fabricated for use in Navy Depots.  So, what can and needs to be done to accelerate the use of AM and reap these benefits?  

Please note that the largest element of the life cycle cost of a weapon system is its maintenance and operation costs.  Improvements here can yield the Navy and the US tax payer huge benefits.  

Play, innovate, and have fun!

Bill Frazier

Design Innovation

Design Innovation

Additive manufacturing provides a tremendous opportunity for design innovation. Components can be fabricated using AM that are not possible (or economically feasible) to make with conventional manufacturing methods.  Optimized designs could result in weight reduction greater than 50%.

While this improvement alone will reduce fuel consumption, new aerodynamically/hydrodynamically efficient shapes could become feasible.  The possibility of using functionally graded materials and embedding electronic systems in structural components will add a new dimension for innovation.

With new design tools, the following and much more are all possible:

  • Design for affordability
  • Design for simplicity
  • Design for ease of assembly and disassembly
  • Design for repair and replacement
  • Design for instrumentation and self-awareness of material state
  • Design for corrosion resistance
  • Design for erosion/ chaffing/ impact resistance
  • Design for minimum weight
  • Design for prescribed stiffness
  • Design for aerodynamic/ hydrodynamic performance
  • Design for ease of inspections
  • Design for increased functionality by using two or more materials
  • Design for survivability
  • Design for stealth

What should the Navy concentrate on to derive the most benefit in shortest time? Play your ideas.

Today's Navy

Tomorrow's Navy

Innovative Design Concepts

Design for additive manufacturing can help unleash the true potential of AM.  Structures can be design and optimized, e.g., for strength & fatigue resistance,  Hybrid materials and structures may be possible enabling electronic devices, sensors, etc to be integrated in structural components.  Light weighting structures could reduce fuel consumption or increase mission radius. 

What will the future Navy look like when the potential of AM is unleashed?  

Play, think out of the box, have fun.

Bill Frazier

Rapid Response for the Warfighter

Rapid Response for the Warfighter

There's no doubt about it.  Today's Navy operates within one of the most dynamic and increasingly hostile environments in history.  Additive Manufacturing is likely to have a profound effect, not only on our ability to rapidly respond to the world's needs but also to the Navy's own needs.  What these effects will be, and how dependent such effects will be on our agility and ability to respond rapidly, remains unknown.  

Today's focus will be on rapid response.  We're interested in hearing your thoughts on how AM can immediately be put to use, and how it might transform our future concepts of rapid response for the Navy. Will AM "level the playing field" and give an advantage to our adversaries?  Will AM fundamentally change the dynamics of the enviornment in which our Navy operates?  What kind of changes might occur? Who can benefit the most, and most quickly? Who is negatively impacted?  Will the United States remain the world's supreme naval force if other players can rapidly emerge?

These are tough questions that no one individual knows for sure.  Let's examine them together - tell others what you think. Play an Idea Card now on our 4 Seed Cards!

Today's Navy:

  • Idea Card 873. How can the rapid response capability of AM benefit Naval adversaries?
  • Idea Card 872. "Get me home" parts might be produced to enable damaged ships and aircraft to return to a repair facility.

Tomorrow's Navy:

  • Idea Card 875. How can AM reduce expected challenges to restore capabilities and mission effectiveness?
  • Idea Card 874. Seamlessly integrated design, manufacturing, and testing capability can enhance the Navy's ability to rapidly respond to any new threat.

Thanks for your great contributions.  Play the game, change the game!

Tomorrow's Topic - Rapid Response for the Warfighter

Tomorrow we focus on how AM will allow Rapid Response for the Warfighter.  Increasingly, the Navy is under pressure to adapt to changing and often hostile environments, In what ways can AM facilitate rapid response?  What are the challenges associated with using AM? 

Have fun!  Think out of the box! Innovate!


Bill Frazier

Day Two of AM MMOWGLI Game - Way To Go Players

Day Two of AM MMOWGLI Game - Way To Go Players!

Today we continue to explore the Big Picture.  I encourage you to explore both new concepts and start to develop links with your fellow players.  Its OK to delve deeply into a specific area of interest.  Don't forget that you can initiate an Action Plan.  The action plan allows you and your fellow players to explore a concept in much more depth.

Have fun, innovate!

Bill Frazier

Ready, Set, Go


Ready, Set, Go!

Welcome to the additive manufacturing (am) MMOWGLI game!  Additive Manufacturing (am), also known as 3D printing, is a potentially disruptive technology that is likely to have a profound effect on the Navy of today and tomorrow.  It has the potential to revolutionize the global parts manufacturing and logistics landscape which are critical to modern warfare. 

At the current research level, AM is reaching into many areas including structural components, advanced materials, integrated electronics, nano-devices, and even printed tissue and organs.  It will radically change the design process and likely upset the balance of power by enabling poorly capitalized organizations to produce sophisticated products where and when needed.

Over the course of the next two weeks, we need your ideas on:

Together we'll create Idea Cards on a variety of additive manufacturing themes throughout the two weeks of game play.  Each day will reveal a new 'theme of the day.'

Game Schedule

  • Big Picture: Let's get started! (16-17 September)
  • Rapid Response: Prototypes, technology transition, & spare parts..oh my! (18 September)
  • Design Innovation: Reduced weight, consumption & increased functionality (19 September)
  • Sustainment: Repair, tooling, logistics (20 September)
  • Advanced Materials Metals, ceramics, polymers, composites, organics (23 September)
  • Qualification & CertificationReduced cost, time, testing  (24 September)
  • Open Play: What other great ideas can we explore? (25-26 September)
  • Action Plan Collaboration: Players finish, fine-tune their plans (25-26 September)
  • Final Voting on Action Plans:  What are our best paths foward? (27 September)

Authors are invited to develop Action Plans as we play the game. After we've iterated on each theme and developed action plans along the way, we'll spend the last few days to really focus on finishing and voting on our Action Plans.

— 20 Items per Page
Showing 1 - 20 of 21 results.

Help     How to Play video     How to Win the Action video


Some game posts are reflected on Twitter
  to support improved player awareness.
  VisibleTweets has an animated replay.

Recent Bloggers (am Additive Manufacturing Blog) Recent Bloggers (am Additive Manufacturing Blog)

Rebecca Law
Posts: 8
Stars: 1
Date: 3/9/16
Paul Armstrong
Posts: 17
Stars: 1
Date: 1/29/16
Judy Daniels
Posts: 4
Stars: 0
Date: 11/16/15
Eric Williams
Posts: 1
Stars: 0
Date: 10/21/15
Robert Hermann
Posts: 1
Stars: 1
Date: 9/1/15
Molly Burd
Posts: 5
Stars: 0
Date: 5/22/15
Machelle Ferry
Posts: 1
Stars: 0
Date: 5/9/15
Don Brutzman
Posts: 3
Stars: 0
Date: 5/9/15
Michelle Rea
Posts: 3
Stars: 0
Date: 5/5/15
Michael Gillette
Posts: 1
Stars: 0
Date: 5/4/15

Tag Cloud Tag Cloud