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North Spark Defense Laboratory makes dorm improvements through 3D printing

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Roxanne Belovarac
  • 319th Reconnaissance Wing

Nothing lasts forever and when something breaks, it has to be fixed. But, if a replacement part can’t be purchased, the entire item needs to be replaced. That is, unless someone can come up with a creative solution.

With the help of the North Spark Defense Laboratory 3D printing program, the airmen dorm leaders at Grand Forks Air Force Base were able to print replacement parts for the airmen dorms. These parts included latches to keep the windows shut as well as replacement pieces for room name plates, both of which are no longer being produced by the original manufacturer. Parts like these can be made in house at a fraction of the cost and time.

“If we hadn’t been able to have North Spark print these parts for us, we would have had to replace at least a whole building’s worth of windows,” said Tech Sgt. Patrice Archer II, the ADL at Barns Hall on Grand Forks AFB. “And with printing the latches they were even able to save a lot of money and make them higher quality, so they won’t break as easily.”

The 3D printing program could be used in many different situations and, with the ability to construct the parts in the 3D modeler the users have the ability to improve upon their original designs as well.

Overall, the program has been able to save the base over $80,000 in replacements and repairs by manufacturing the parts needed in house.

“The 3D printing program is just one of the many great innovations that have come from North Spark,” said Senior Airman Pieter VanSpronsen, the lead of North Sparks’ 3D printing program. “Innovation is something we need.”