Ryan C. Crean

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Logistics and Supply Chain Management


Department of Operational Sciences

First Advisor

Alan W. Johnson, PhD.


Additive Manufacturing (AM), or three-dimensional (3D) printing as it is commonly referred to, is a rapidly developing technology that has the potential to revolutionize the way that firms develop and produce parts, as well as how they manage their supply chains. AM allows organizations to "print" prototypes, parts, tools, fixtures, tooling and a variety of other items at their production location. This can remove long lead times and high inventory levels for one-time or rare items. This research examines current AM use within the military services. Additionally, this study details the costs associated with fielding different levels of AM capability, specifically metal printing, production level polymer printing, and desktop level polymer printing. Finally, this research quantifies the cost of producing a metal part using AM. Ten parts with long lead times were chosen for analysis, and the cost calculated for AM production is compared to the price the Air Force currently pays to procure these parts. Topics for future research into of AM will be presented.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number