The 3D printing unit at Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC) has collaborated with US Marines at the beginning of this month to construct a 500-square-foot barracks hut. By using a very large concrete 3D printer, the team achieved this barracks hut in 40 hours.

Photo By: Courtesy photo

The aim behind this project

The Marine Corps aimed at evaluating the needs and the different ways of taking advantage of this technology. The results of this exercise will enable the Corps to determine a true construction additive manufacturing program.This exercise had never been done before,” said Capt. Matthew Friedell, AM project officer in MCSC’s Operations and Programs/G-3. “People have printed buildings and large structures, but they haven’t done it onsite and all at once. This is the first-in-the-world, onsite continuous concrete print.”

The construction
A computer-aided design model, a computer obviously, concrete and a 3D printer were the main tools required for this operation. Once the team hit print, the concrete was pushed through the print head and layered repeatedly to build the walls.

During the construction time, it was necessary to monitor progress and continually fill the printer with concrete. However, if there was a robot to do the mixing and pumping, the building could easily be created in one day, Friedell said. Such type of construction normally requires 10 Marines five days to construct a barracks hut out of wood.

In active or simulated combat environments, we don’t want Marines out there swinging hammers and holding plywood up,” said Friedell. “Having a concrete printer that can make buildings on demand is a huge advantage for Marines operating down range.

Anyway, the project definitely shows the importance of a 3D printer and its use will definitely span the variety of military operations, from combat environments to humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions.

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