Panama City Beach -- "Our scientists and engineers through innovation are coming up with the next greatest piece of tech that will give our sailors and marines an unfair advantage. So the next step would be to realize that idea. So the shops around us are a prototype manufacturing facility."
Those are the words of NSAPC public affairs officer Jeff Prater.
Chuck Self is an engineering technician working with the bases new 3D printer. As practice, he has built everything from elephants to small trucks. Currently, self is printing a model of a small boat.
"40 hours is what this will take, but trying to make this otherwise, with other manufacturing processes would be a much bigger time cost," says self.
Things that took months to fabricate from scratch, can now be done in days. And the technology is still in its infancy. Self imagines a time when 3D printing will be everywhere.
"Eventually products will be brought to market by the 3-d printer. You may have one in your home or you may go down to your local bureau and say hey, i want a new blender and they are just going to print you one," says Self.
For now though, this printer will be used to realize and test new design ideas in a fraction of the time.
"There is a reason why the United States navy is the number one navy in the world and your looking at it. It's because we have the leading tech, the best innovators, and we come up with the best solutions for our war fighters," says Prater.