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Rapid Prototyping across the Spectrum: RF to Optical 3D Electromagnetic Structures

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Technical Report,01 Feb 2012,31 Dec 2015

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Munitions Directorate Eglin AFB United States

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One of the most important challenges faced by the DoD is agility on a changing battlefield. Many times we are only a step ahead of foes, and solutions presented to the warfighter need to address these rapidly evolving threats. This demands agile and rapid manufacturing and design which will enable open architectures that permit rapid prototyping mission specific reconfigurability material tailoring for specific applications efficient small lot productions better systems, faster and cheaper modularity, complexity combined with flexibility, and a shortened supply chain. Additive manufacturing AM and 3D prototyping are a potential game changer and have important implications to the DoD as seen by the significant investment by the Federal government through initiatives such as NNMI America Makes. Rapid prototyping can be seen as the seamless thread from design to manufacturing to maintainability that will enable rapid modernization for technological agility. AM technology has advanced considerably in the commercial sector with new materials like thermo-plastics, metals, and photopolymers that have been optimized for a specific additive process. But, much work is still needed to develop and optimize the materials and additive processes to adapt AM to demanding military applications. The challenge is not simply to apply existing AM techniques, but also to develop new materials, AM processes, design methods and corresponding intellectual property through demonstrations that show the utility and viability of AM based solutions specific to DoD needs. In this paper, we aim to develop a roadmap for 3D Rapid Prototyping of electromagnetic EM Structures and Devices. Pursuant to this goal, we perform a systematic review of the types of EM phenomena and applications, design methodology and various 3D rapid prototyping techniques used for such fabrication...

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