Marines at the Mountain Warfare Training Center, working with the Marine Corps System Command team focused on additive manufacturing, which is also known as 3D printing, have come up with a method for same-day printing of new snowshoe clips, which keep boots locked into show shoes.
"If a Marine is attacking a position in the snow while in combat, and the clip on their boot breaks, it makes it difficult for the Marine to run forward with a rifle uphill to complete the mission," "If he or she has a 3D-printed clip in their pocket, they can quickly replace it and continue charging ahead."
The Corps has issued requests for information on a new cap and gloves for intense cold, and it plans to spend nearly $13 million on 2,648 sets of ski system for scout snipers, reconnaissance Marines, and some infantrymen. Zippers stuck; seams ripped; backpack frames snapped; and boots repeatedly pulled loose from skis or tore on the metal bindings.
The teams designed and printed the new clip, made of resin, within three business days of the request, and each clip costs just $0.05, The team has also 3D-printed an insulated cover for radio batteries that would otherwise quickly be depleted in cold weather.
"The capability that a 3D printer brings to us on scene saves the Marine Corps time and money by providing same-day replacements if needed. "It makes us faster than our peer adversaries because we can design whatever we need right when we need it, instead of ordering a replacement part and waiting for it to ship."
The Marines aren't the only ones working on 3D printing. The Navy is using it to make submersibles, and the Air Force was looking at 3D printing to produce replacement parts.
But the Marine Corps has expressed particular interest in the technology and unit commands broad permission to use 3D printing to build parts for their equipment. The force now relies on it to make products that are too small for the conventional supply chain, like specialized tools, radio components, or items that would otherwise require larger, much more expensive repairs to replace.
Marines were the first to deploy the machines to combat zones with conventional forces.
several of the desktop-computer-size machines had been deployed with the Marine Corps crisis-response task force
The Corps is developing the X-FAB, a self-contained, transportable 3D-printing facility contained within a 20-foot-by-20-foot box, meant to support maintenance, supply, logistics, and engineer units in the field. The service also said it wants to 3D-print mini drones for use by infantry units.
Marine Corps unit provided a replacement part for a forward deployed F-35B Joint Strike Fighter assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron.
The aircraft in question had a small plastic component on its landing gear door wear out. While the piece was relatively small and insignificant, it nonetheless would have required the entire door assembly to be replaced. However, the Marines were able to print out a new bumper and install it in a matter of days rather than waiting for weeks for a new replacement door assembly to arrive.
“As a commander, my most important commodity is time,” Although our supply
personnel and logisticians do an outstanding job getting us parts, being able to rapidly make our own parts is a huge advantage.”
Marine Corps pilot has successfully flown an F-35B Lightning II with a 3-D printed part. The Marine Fighter Attack Squadron used 3D printing to replace a worn bumper on the landing gear of the fighter jet.
Marine Corps used the 3D printer as part of a process otherwise known as additive manufacturing. Without a 3D printing capability, the entire door assembly would have needed to be replaced, a more expensive and more time-consuming repair. Rather than waiting weeks for a replacement the bumper was printed, approved and installed within a few days.
The repair demonstrates the value that additive manufacturing technology brings to forward-deployed units. “I think 3D printing is definitely the future ― it’s absolutely the direction the Marine Corps needs to be going,”
Building off the achievement with the F-35 part, the MEU’s explosive ordnance disposal team requested a modification part to function as a lens cap for a camera on an iRobot small unmanned ground vehicle. Such a part did not exist at the time, but the 3-D printing team designed and produced the part, which is currently operational and protecting the robot’s lens.