How to Make an A-10 at Home: An Air Force Site Will Allow Users to Download 3D Printable Planes

A 3D model of an F-16 Fighting Falcon that the Air Force plans to publish on its redesigned homepage in October is shown at a Defense Media Activity webinar on September 2, 2021. (Matthew Lumbatis / Defense Media Activity)

A redesigned Air Force website will soon allow users to bring detailed models of “Warthogs” A-10s, F-16 Fighter Falcons and other U.S. military aircraft to their own homes, both virtually and physically.

A handful of computer-rendered military aircraft models will be available for augmented reality viewing on smartphones or mobile devices. Users will also be able to download files from the site for use in 3D printing.

The expected release of the new feature comes amid the intensive use the military uses of computer models for virtual reality, augmented reality and 3D printing in areas such as pilot training and equipment maintenance. For example, some spare parts and special tools have been printed in 3D.

Capabilities are scheduled to be released on October 1 in a new version of the Air Force website, Master Sgt. Dan DeCook, of the Air Force’s public web team, said at a webinar. It will be rolled out to other service locations over the next few weeks.

“That’s a huge thing,” DeCook said. “It’s much more complicated than other parts of the site.”

An F-16 Fighting Falcon model was printed from a file the Air Force plans to post on its website in October.

An F-16 Fighting Falcon model was printed from a file the Air Force plans to post on its website in October. (Matthew Lumbatis / Defense Media Activity)

A computer-rendered model of an A-10C Thunderbolt II, affectionately known as

A computer-rendered model of an A-10C Thunderbolt II, affectionately known as the “Warthog,” is shown on a sample page on the redesigned Air Force website. (Defense media activity)

The 3D graphics that will be hosted on the site will be good enough for public affairs use, but not for printing spare parts or the like, an official said at the webinar posted online this week.

Although the site is expected to launch with 10 models, the library will continue to expand, officials said.

“Finally, we will have all of our aircraft available,” DeCook said.

Part of the complexity, he said, is that detailed representations of the computer, which can be viewed from any angle, take up more memory than other multimedia elements.

The webinar was one of the recent sessions that showed several new features in the Air Force Public Information Management System sites of the U.S. Defense Forces Media Activity. The system hosts many of the military’s public websites.

The augmented reality option, which will allow viewers to see the plane as if it were right in front of them, will only work on mobile devices, said Elexus Parra, host of the webinar.

On most 3D models, the computer program will allow you to enter various scales depending on the size and capabilities of the printer.

At the Goodfellow Air Force base in Texas, instructors began “moving away from PowerPoint slides” and two-dimensional drawings of military equipment in favor of 3D models to help train intelligence analysts. images to recognize them from various angles, according to the 315th Air Force Training Squadron. in a statement earlier this year.

NASA has already made available on one of its websites 3D printable versions of spacecraft, lunar landing sites and extraterrestrial terrain.

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Garland of Chad

Chad is a Marine Corps veteran who covers the U.S. Army in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and sometimes elsewhere for Stars and Stripes. A native of Illinois who has been reported by news in Washington, DC, Arizona, Oregon, and California, he is a former student of the Defense Language Institute, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Arizona State University.



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