A team from the US Marine Corps’ Systems Command (MCSC) and Naval Construction Battalion has used the world’s largest concrete 3D printer to create a barracks hut.
Located at the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Champaign, Illinois, the 47 sq m structure took 40 hours to print, while marines monitored progress and continually filled the printer with concrete.
Building a wood barracks hut would normally take 10 marines five days to build.
Matthew Friedell, MCSC project officer, said the experiment was the first of its kind. “People have printed buildings and large structures, but they haven’t done it onsite and all at once. This is the first onsite continuous concrete print.
“In active or simulated combat environments, we don’t want marines out there swinging hammers and holding plywood up,” he said.
The Marine Corps also plans to use concrete printers in humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions. In many locations, cement is easier to acquire than wood, and marines could print houses, schools and community buildings to replace those destroyed.