FBI To Use 3D Printing For Bomb Research

The Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center was established in 2003 to analyze and examine improvised explosive devices of interest to the United States.

TEDAC acts as the central point of coordination for the efforts of the entire government to gather and disseminate intelligence about these devices. Their work disarming and disrupting the use and creation of IEDs, linking those devices to the madmen who make them, and preventing future attacks, is serious business.

Thus far, TEDAC has received tens of thousands of IED submissions, most of those coming from war-torn Iraq and Afghanistan, which they use to analyze various levels of sophistication and threat.

The mission of TEDAC is to eradicate the IED threat entirely. The Center informs partner agencies and groups of the design, development, purchase, assembly, and deployment of IEDs by providing scientific and technical information about them through innovative forensic techniques.

To that end, TEDAC recently announced that they’ll be purchasing a Stratasys Objet24 to help them study the role 3D printing might play in the manufacture of weapons and explosive devices, and it’s very likely that they’ll use their printer to prototype examples of existing devices to use as teaching tools as well.

While TEDAC are unwilling to be specific about the ways their new 3D printer might be used to study IEDs and weapons, this sort of foray by law enforcement into 3D scanning and 3D printing technology might actually be a bit behind the curve.

Located at the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, TEDAC consists of a director from the FBI, a deputy director from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, a Department of Defense executive manager from the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization and five units tasked with studying forensics, technical exploitation, intelligence, and investigations.

TEDAC will be buying the $19,000 printer to support the advanced technical exploitation of evolving and existing high technology explosive devices, and the agency says it’s “the only instrument capable of producing the high accuracy and resolution results to meet Agency testing standards.”

British design engineer Chris Natt is already working on a similar project in hopes his devices can be used to train technicians in their work clearing such deadly mines. Natt created four precision plastic models of the most common types of mines. His work is aimed at giving the often untrained people tasked with removing and disarming them guidance as he estimates that 100 such crew members have been killed or injured every year since 1999.



  • fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/fbi-breaks-ground-for-new-tedac-laboratory/