Military operations all over the globe are encumbered by grave logistics problems with regards to supplying and maintaining bases, sometimes in remote areas. 3D printing is giving them the ability to utilize local resources for almost anything that’s needed to run the operation smoothly, from the barracks to on-demand repair parts and flexible asset design. The decentralization of the manufacturing capability is a game changer for the military, reducing dependency from external suppliers/producers and providing a more agile toolset to face the challenges of the front.
U.S. Army Seeks Commercialization of 3D Printed Cement Barracks
Spanning 512 square-feet, the Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) in Champaign, Illinois, has revealed the successful construction of its first 3D printed barracks hut.
“ACES provides a capability to print custom designed expeditionary structures on-demand, in the field, using locally available materials.” – Dr. Michael Case, CERL ACES program manager.
Such huts would typically be constructed using plywood. By comparison, locally sourced cements reduces the cost of shipped building materials by half. Automation additionally saves manpower requirements by 62%.
Read the full article at 3D Printing Industry.
Marines Evaluate Mobile Fab Lab To Expedite Repair And Supply
The U.S. Marine Corps is evaluating the utility of an expeditionary fabrication laboratory (X-FAB) for on-demand crisis response. A self-contained fab lab, the 20 x 20 foot unit is stocked with four 3D printers, CAD software and a 3D scanner.
It can be deployed with battalion-level Marine maintenance units, servicing support ground equipment including motor transport and communications electronics.
“In a contested environment where ships cannot easily land, or airplanes cannot necessarily fly in and deliver goods, Marines need a way to support themselves—at least temporarily,” – Lt. Col. Howie Marotto, Additive Manufacturing lead at Marine Corps Installations and Logistics.
Read more about the X-FAB here.
US Marine Designs 3D Printed Surveillance Drone at Fraction of Regular Cost
Last year, Rhet McNeal (26-year-old Corporal in the US Marine Corps (USMC)) and a team of five collaborators submitted “Adaptable and Affordable 3D Drones,” a proposal for a transportable, quick-assemble, inexpensive drone that was modeled after the existing Wasp – but with 3D printable parts. An entire Wasp drone system costs roughly $250,000 once all is said and done. But using 3D printer resin, off-the-shelf electronics, and the iPhone app Q Ground Control, the Scout drone system (1 control system, 2 drones) can be built for just $613 – less than 0.5% of the Wasp system.
Read more about the project here.
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