Professionals from the construction 3D printing sector are shaking the industry across the world with new fundings and new projects. The latest project we recently discovered is the one of the ICON Team, the non-profit organization that is on a mission to 3D print homes for underserved communities. This time, their latest project will have another scope as the team worked with US Military to support military operations and crisis response efforts around the globe.
With the initial goal of leveraging a commercial technology in Construction Scale Additive Manufacturing for military use, the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) has called for the ICON team to teach the technology and its applications in-situ. Marines were trained on the software, robotics and material delivery sub-systems at ICON’s lab.
The training sessions were followed by live-demonstration of the technology capabilities. In this vein, the team decided to 3D print and stand up a Vehicle Hide Structure at Camp Pendleton.
A project that the Marines carried out on their own, from start to finish, after only a few hours of training. The technology provides tablet-based system controls that allow even beginners to deliver quality work.
At the onset of the project, the goal was to complete the print in 40-48 hours, with some expected loss of productivity for troubleshooting while getting the Marines up to speed. Some recent automation upgrades that increased the precision of the material delivery system paid huge dividends, and the print was completed in 36 hours with virtually zero troubleshooting time.
- Tech: ICON’s Vulcan 3D printer weighs 3800 pounds and can print up to 2,000 sq feet. In 2019, the Vulcan printed 400-500 square foot homes in Mexico and the U.S.
- Structure: 4 arches were 3D printed, then titled to create a vehicle hide structure at 26’ length x 13’ width x 15’ height
- Speed: Vehicle hide structure print took 3 and a half days and ~ 36 hours of print time (continuous printing to completion capability exists if enabled to work in shift rotations throughout a 24 hour day)
- Material: Lavacrete is a proprietary, cement-based material with a PSI of 6,000
- Crew: 8 Marines were trained on ICON’s Vulcan and Magma operations with 3-4 actively involved in rotations at a time.
“The unique opportunity to provide cutting-edge tools to improve the mission capabilities of the Marine Corps and watch them take the reins with the technology this past month makes us proud,” said Dmitri Julius, VP of Operations at ICON. “As a retired USMC Veteran, I am honored to work with this storied organization. Our desire is to have a continued long-term partnership to put 3D printers in the hands of Marines in garrison and down range. The humanitarian applications are also endless and the ability to build useful structures for our bravest service men and women is truly tremendous.”
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