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Marines Use 3D Printer to Custom Create Bridges

Monday, February 11, 2019

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In researching technology options for troops in the field, Marines from the 1st Marine Logistic Group recently used a 3D printer to form a footbridge out of layers of concrete.

The Automated Construction of Expeditionary Structures printer, used by the 1st MLG, is not yet deployable, though the Marine Corps has high hopes for using the technology in the field, noted Matthew Friedell, the team leader of the Advanced Manufacturing Operations Cell in the Marine Corps Rapid Sustainment Office.

Adapting 3D Printing

Friedell added that while the Marines do have bridge technology that can be deployed, the 3D printer allows for the creation of structures that can bridge almost any gap.

Marine Corps

In researching technology options for troops in the field, Marines from the 1st Marine Logistic Group recently used a 3D printer to form a footbridge out of layers of concrete.

“When we bring a medium girder bridge with us, it can only be used as a medium girder bridge,” Friedell said. “But if we bring a technology such as a concrete 3D printer and we can locally source concrete, we can make not only bridges but structures or engineering obstacles or mobility or counter-mobility implementation.”

The more tools that units have on hand, the less reliance there will be on shipping lanes that may come under attack.

“We’ve always had welders and the ability to haphazardly make things, but now we’re starting to discover these technologies to do more precision milling and manufacturing,” Friedell said.

There are already roughly 150 printers in use throughout the service, according to USNI News. The primary challenges with 3D printing right now are figuring out intellectual property deals, noted Friedell, adding that he thinks the industry and the Department of Defense will have arranged agreements for the use of product designs for small quantities of 3D-printed products within the next three to four years.

   

Tagged categories: 3D Printing; Bridges; Government; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Research and development

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