A division of the US Marines has successfully started to 3D print small explosives, which could eventually lead to more sophisticated forms of warfare. In a video put out by the US Department of Defense (DoD) in its blog, the Marines demonstrated how small explosive devices were printed and tested.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Marines are working on designs that can be used as explosives in the field. The idea is to create small containers that can be transformed into explosives by adding charges to them.

By making use of 3D printing tech, it is possible to create objects overnight, explained Jared Green, the EOD Team Leader. There are also a lot of resources online where printable files can simply be downloaded and printed, he said.

The printed materials are not explosive on their own, but are packed in with explosive materials and applied on the target.

Additive manufacturing or 3D printing allows for the Marines to easily create small parts on the go, locally. The post mentions that they can even create objects that were not previously available to them with just a little bit of imagination.

The video shows small devices printed by the Marines and placed on a sheet of metal that was the target of the exercise. Green explained, "All the charges worked, it did what we wanted them to do and we were able to print them and make them in less than 24 hours.

"Once everybody is comfortable with the material and knows how to utilise it, it opens up the possibility of being able to design something and print it on the spot, something that you can't buy and doesn't even exist," he added.

Previously, it was reported that US Marines are printing and testing a small drone called the Nibbler that can carry explosives. If they are able to combine 3D-printed bombs with a 3D-printed drone, they can take it to any battlefield and simply start producing weapons on site.

3D printed explosives
A few of the containers 3D printed by the US Marines Department of Defense/Screengrab