52nd CES Airmen, at the Forefront of Innovation

  • Published
  • By SMSgt Jeffery House
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Two Airmen assigned to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany use what was once an after-duty hobby to save time, money, and resources by 3D printing spare parts and training aids. Senior Airmen Elijah Smith and Noah Johnson work in the Structures Lock Shop in the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron. Senior Airman Johnson perfected the use of 3D printing in his home to replicate and reproduce mechanical components for a variety of lock systems, bypassing the need to order and replace the locking mechanism itself. Partnering with Senior Airman Elijah Smith, the two were approved to utilize 52nd Fighter Wing Innovation funds to purchase a 3D printer for their shop.

This duo has not only successfully produced functioning components for locks but also expedited the installation of quality-of-life enhancing ventilation systems in support of Operation Atlas Guardian deployed personnel. The two created a training manual to help other Structures Airmen utilize the new technology. They then validated their new manual on Airmen not familiar with locks or 3D Printers with resounding success. One of the goals described by Senior Airman Johnson is “for other Civil Engineer Squadrons to see the value in 3D Printing and incorporate it into their base sustainment and repair operations.”