The US military is developing its own 3D printer that it can use to produce spare parts for spacecraft.

By putting 3D printers behind the front line it hopes to be able to produce spares more cheaply and quickly than it can get them from manufacturers.

It has been using a $695 (£436) model made by Printrbot which compares to the $3,000 (£1,880) cost of other machines.

The work is being carried out at the US Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC) in Alabama.

3D printers are gadgets that form objects by melting and shaping plastic into a design dictated by a data file. They are becoming increasingly common and many engineering and research firms use them for rapid prototyping….. Read more here: