Denver company 3D prints submarine prototype for Navy

Local News

DENVER (KDVR) — A metal manufacturing company has built a prototype submarine for the United States Navy to be considered to be used in classified operations.

The prototype was made using a 3D printer and industrial grade aluminum.

They are the largest three dimensional printers in Colorado. They were designed, created and patented by Slade Gardner, who also created Big Metal Additive. They make structures for space, aerospace, department of defense and even automotive.

Unlike smaller 3D printers that use plastic, these printers use industrial-grade aluminum, “The work instructions tell the machine where to put the metal, and then where to come in and machine the metal,” said Gardner.

One of the two giant 3D printers made a submarine.

“This 8-foot-long, 21-inch diameter, unmanned underwater vehicle is a prototype,” said Gardner.

The submarine is also currently being considered by the United States Navy for operations that remain classified.

“The driving force from the Navy is, can you make reconfigurable UUV’s, (underwater utility vehicle) what do you want inside?” said Gardner. 

What would go inside is classified as well.

Mapping the ocean floor, underwater communications or other tasks unknown.

“We will be building a series of articles and testing them to Navy standards, looking at making a vehicle like this ocean worthy,” said Gardner.

So far, the United States Navy likes what it sees.

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