The Coast Guard’s 3D printing success

Just as traffic lights and road signs inform drivers and warn them about upcoming hazards, aids to navigation, such as lighthouses, buoys, and radio beacons help mariners navigate waters and identify potential risks.  

The [US] Coast Guard is responsible for maintaining aids to navigation in waters under Federal jurisdiction, and that maintenance comes with an increasingly large price tag: according to a 2020 Government Accountability Office Report, “the overall costs to repair and replace aids to navigation increased from $12 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 to about $20 million in 2018,” with “a collective replacement value of about $1.6 billion.”

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