Marines See the Benefit of 3D Printers in Combat Zones

Share this Article

Military troops spend their careers engaged in the overall directive of keeping US citizens safe. In active duty, they may also be engaged in a battle between life and death themselves out in the field. Today though, much of war is ‘smarter,’ and military officials are not just interested in but are already using progressive, self-sustainable technologies like 3D printing. We’ve followed numerous instances already where the Marines have shown off their foresight and skills with such technology, most recently to include the development of a 3D printed drone used for carrying supplies and performing surveillance.

The use of 3D printers in combat zones offers obvious benefit, and now the Marines have plans to use them for maintenance of gear, as well as more rapid production for supply chains. Three printers are already in use as soldiers battle against Islamic State militants.

“We were the first service to actually deploy 3D printers to a combat zone with actual conventional forces,” said Marine Lt. Col. Howard Marotto, the service’s lead for additive manufacturing and 3D printing development and implementation, in a recent interview. “There have been printers deployed in the past in the special forces community, but they were always deployed with engineers. We’ve actually deployed these printers with our Marines, and given them the training [to use them] while deployed.”

Lt. Gen. Michael Dana

The benefits 3D printers offer for troops in combat are immense. In remote locations, they do not have to pack in parts but rather with the hardware and materials on location, they can make whatever they need on demand. Lt. Gen. Michael Dana, deputy commandant for Installations and Logistics, pointed out that previously these ‘essential parts’ would have to be shipped in from nearby areas or a distant Defense Logistics Agency hub.

“There are radios out there that have plastic components. We’ve been able to print plastic components for those radios, to make them operable when they were inoperable,” Dana said in a recent interview. “This way it has much promise to provide on-demand parts literally within hours, worst case days, whereas if you’re dealing with a traditional, back in the States to point of need, you’re talking multiple days, weeks and sometimes even longer. So that’s the attraction of this capability.”

3D printing can eliminate the hassles of the contemporary ‘factory to foxhole’ method. With 3D printing, an on demand mini-factory can be brought directly to the military site.

Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert B. Neller, right, observes a 3D printer in the Central Command area of operations, June 18, 2017. [Image: Cpl. Samantha K. Braun]

While they are not giving out the exact locations of where the 3D printers are in use by the Marines, Marotto did confirm that several are in combat zones in the Middle East. There are more in use also, but they are ‘behind the front lines,’ with a total of 40 3D printers in use. Marotto sees that number expanding by 20 or 30 more as the year goes on.

“Marines have always had great ideas; they have always been innovative. They haven’t always had the capability to be able to manufacture that or to make it right there, at least a prototype,” Marotto said. “And now 3D printing is opening up those avenues for Marines to capitalize on their innovative ideas.”

Discuss in the Marines forum at 3DPB.com.

[Source: Defense Tech]

 

Facebook Comments

Share this Article


Related Articles

nScrypt Sending Rugged Model of 3D Bioprinter to the Desert for Military Experiments in Challenging Climates

AFRL and University Partners Used 3D Printed Composite Materials to Make Structural Parts



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

Air Force Research Laboratory Testing 3D Printed Parts for Motors

In ‘3D Printed Motor: In-House Seedling Effort: Experiential Training for Building and Experimentally Testing a Motor Using 3D Printed Elements,’ authors Kevin J. Yost and Maxwell Stelmack discuss what they...

Army Research Groups Explore 3D Printing for Soldiers In the Field

The United States Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey serves as the main R&D group for the U.S. Army armament and munitions...

US Air Force Awards nScrypt Research Company Contract for 3D Printed Conformal Phased Array Antenna Project

Florida-based nScrypt, which manufactures industrial systems for micro-dispensing and 3D printing, is already seeing its technology used for military applications with the US Army. But now the US Air Force has jumped...

Air Force: C-5 Super Galaxy Plane Receives Seventeen 3D Printed Parts to Cabin & Crew Areas

The C-5 Program Office, Air Mobility Command, and the 436th Airlift Wing from Dover Air Force Base have completed installation of 3D printed parts on a C-5 Super Galaxy plane...


Training


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.


Print Services

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our 3DPrint.com.

You have Successfully Subscribed!