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US Army 3D Prints ‘RAMBO’ Grenade Launcher

According to The Engineer, the US Army’s Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center (ARDEC) has developed a 3D printed weapon dubbed ‘RAMBO.’

‘RAMBO,’ or ‘Rapid Additively Manufactured Ballistics Ordnance,’ is a nearly 100% fully 3D printed grenade launcher.  “RAMBO is based on the 40mm M203A1 grenade launcher, which contains 50 components.  All of these, with the exception of springs and fasteners, were produced using various additive manufacturing techniques.”

For example, “the barrel and receiver were fabricated from powdered aluminum using direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) in a process that took about 70 hours.  After some machining and tumbling, they received Type III hard-coat anodizing, just like a conventional M203A1.”

“Ammunition for RAMBO was developed by the Army’s Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center (ECBC) and the Army Research Laboratory (ARL).  They chose the M781 40mm training round, as it does not contain any explosives or propellants.”

“The grenade’s windshield, projectile body, and cartridge case were created using selective laser sintering and other processes.  In order to try and replicate the rifling effect imparted on grenade rounds, the team had to experiment with various materials and techniques, as the zinc from which production M781 rounds are made cannot currently be 3D printed.”

RAMBO was designed in conjunction with feedback made by soldiers “from the 2-504 Parachute Infantry Regiment of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division.”  This feedback “inspired rapidly created weapon prototypes and kits including custom handgrips and adjustable buttstocks, all of which were facilitated by 3D printing.”

“RAMBO and the test rounds were fired for the first time [in October of 2016] at a facility in New Jersey.  According to the researchers, 15 test shots were fired, with muzzle velocities matching conventional grenade launchers to within five percent.  [Additionally], the weapon showed no signs of degradation after firing.”

“RAMBO and its 3D printed ammo are currently undergoing [further] testing [in order] to evaluate their reliability, survivability, and failure rates.”

Video Courtesy of the U.S. Army

Image and Quotes Courtesy of The Engineer

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