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Marines Build 3D-Printed Concrete Barracks

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

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Earlier this month, the Additive Manufacturing Team at Marine Corps Systems Command, working in collaboration with Marines from the I Marine Expeditionary Force, used a 3D printer to create the a 500-square-foot barracks hut in 40 hours.

According to Capt. Matthew Friedell, AM project officer in MCSC’s Operations and Programs/G-3, this kind of undertaking was a first: “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.”

3D-Printed Barracks

Beginning with a computer-aided design model, the team used the 3D printer over the next day and a half to create the barracks. The printer also had to be consistently monitored and refilled with concrete; though, according to Friedell, if a robot were present to take care of the concrete, the project would only have taken a day.

United States Marine Corps

Earlier this month, the Additive Manufacturing Team at Marine Corps Systems Command, working in collaboration with Marines from the I Marine Expeditionary Force, used a 3D printer to create the a 500-square-foot barracks hut in 40 hours.

“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.”

Normally it takes 10 Marines five days to build a single barracks unit made out of wood. When using the 3D printer, a similar structure could be completed in less than two days. Since the Marines are often the first military service on site after a natural disaster, a 3D printer could be used to quickly create shelter, schools and community buildings to replace what had been destroyed.

“This capability would enable a great partnership with the local community because it is low cost, easy to use and robotics could print the buildings,” Friedell said. “We can bring forward better structures, houses and forward operating bases with less manpower and fewer Marines in harm’s way.”

The AM team plans to carry this research further by conducting additional testing and allowing for more widespread usage among the Marines, which would inform future requirements.


Tagged categories: 3D Printing; Government; Residential Construction; U.S. Army

Comment from David Reynolds, (9/4/2018, 9:05 AM)

This is good news. Thanks! Thinking of later on, adapting the building to civilian uses is an opportunity, of course. But if neither military nor civilian uses continue, 'might want to figure-in recycling for pavement, say, by whoever takes ownership after fighting is over and garrison no longer needed. The very properties that make for safe quarters for Marines probably work against designing for demolition. Maybe another robot opportunity?

Comment from Michael Halliwell, (9/4/2018, 11:11 AM)

David, concrete recycling is definitely a nice "afterwards" thing to have...but for many areas that could see these buildings re-purposed for civilian use afterwards, these could be the most solid buildings in the area for quite some time. As for demolition, I do believe there are a number of additives for concrete 3D printing, but I also believe that they are somewhat limited in terms of reinforcing. Concrete is more secure than 2x4s and plywood (especially when it comes to small arms fire), but I don't see any big demolition issues.

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