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Can you build an army base barracks out of concrete in less than two days? The US Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC) accomplished the mission with a 3D printer. The project was a field test to evaluate the potential of 3D-printed construction.
The 46-sqm building was built in 40 hours at the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Champaign, Illinois. “This is the first-in-the-world on-site continuous concrete print,” said Captain Matthew Friedell, a project officer from the MCSC additive manufacturing team. “People have printed buildings and large structures, but they haven’t done it on-site and all at once.”
The MCSC teamed up with a task force from the Marines to build the barracks, which required four people to supervise and refill the printer with concrete. Friedell said the process could be reduced to one day with the help of a robot to do the mixing and pumping.
Friedell said: “In active or simulated combat environments, we don’t want marines out there swinging hammers and holding plywood up.” “Having a concrete printer that can make buildings on demand is a huge advantage for Marines operating down range.”
Friedell said the technology could also advantage communities when the military was on humanitarian or disaster-relief missions.
Major advances have been made in recent years as architects and engineers have explored the potential of 3D printing in construction. According to dezeen.com, in the civilian world, Arup and CLS Architetti used a portable robot to 3D-print a concrete house, while the Eindhoven University of Technology will 3D print concrete houses in the Dutch city that will be made available to rent.