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3D4IL network has 3D printed 35,000 parts to support IDF’s efforts

CEO Ariel Harush tells Israeli news channel about the latest developments aiding soldiers in the field

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In just over 100 days of operation 3D4IL, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) through 3D printing, has 3D printed over 35,000 parts for a total of 20 products being used by soldiers in the field, by recruiting over 300 volunteers using half a ton of raw material (filament). CEO Ariel Harush – an R&D Engineer at HP – was recently interviewed by Israeli news channel N12 News to talk about the latest progress in this effort and how it came to be.

3D4IL network has 3D printed 35,000 parts to support IDF's efforts and CEO Ariel Harush tells Israeli news channel about the latest Early on, just 10 days after Hamas’ horrific attacks on innocent Israeli civilians, 3D4IL formed as an informal network of volunteers in Israel that together can quickly 3D print large quantities of parts on desktop 3D printing equipment. Fabbaloo was the first media to report on the story, highlighting that their main application at the moment was a power adapter. As it turned out, the IDF’s standard military electrical outlet found on most vehicles was not compatible with standard smartphone connections. This meant that soldiers were not able to charge while in the field, and they had been asking for a solution. 3D4IL provided one with the speed that only 3D printing can afford in times of crisis.

And they have provided many solutions more since then. “Last week I was sitting on the train, and I saw a soldier with one of our products,” Harush said. “I smiled so huge they must have thought I was crazy. There is no great satisfaction then developing a product and seeing a soldier sitting next to you, with a product you made and who has no idea that you are behind it.”

3D4IL’s 300 team members consist of engineers, engineering students, and makers who specialize in developing and 3D printing a variety of products and accessories for combat and medical soldiers. Unlike many training missions we’ve seen in the past that bring printers into the field, these are real and very practical end-use products that receive immediate feedback from actual combat action.

The main issue is that when the Israeli army recalled over 300,000 reserves, they found themselves with an abundant number of soldiers but lacked equipment. The network’s goal is to provide a direct link between soldiers and engineers. In total, around 50 skilled students and engineers are dedicated to developing, analyzing, and modeling solutions to meet the demands of combat zones. Another 150 volunteers, including makers, engineers, and students, offered to use their homes and offices to print the necessary products. Finally, approximately 40 drivers transport ~500 products daily from Gaza to the northern border, a logistics Center located next to Tel Aviv. Another team is responsible for marketing the project on social networks, exposing it to soldiers and donors as well as the initial management of the soldiers’ requirements.

3D4IL network has 3D printed 35,000 parts to support IDF's efforts and CEO Ariel Harush tells Israeli news channel about the latest
The numbers are growing rapidly, in the order of thousands of parts per week.

From a single adapter, 3D4IL volunteers are now printing over 20 different products, including a magazine loader, knee pads, multiple combat engineering parts, and even top-secret projects. Needless to say, while the cost of the printed parts is a fraction of what would be if it were produced through official channels (which simply cannot handle the requests), there still are significant costs to support this effort. In total 3D4IL has printed approximately $20,000 worth of materials from donations and personal resources. According to 3D4IL’s estimates, raw material costs can range from 20-100/kg depending on the application and one kilogram can produce between 10 and 100 products. If you also want to help, get in touch with them at @3d4israel.

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