Twentynine Palms -- Marines with 7th Marine Regiment and Combat Logistics Company 13 took on the opportunity to learn 3D printing at 1st Tank Battalion’s classrooms Nov. 14-16, 2016.
“I’m a firm believer in giving the warfighters as many tools as possible at their disposal,” said Brad Halsey, CEO and founder, Building Momentum. “With this class they are able to engineer solutions on the battlefield that might otherwise take months or years to solve.”
The 3D printing initiative is part of the Corps’ continuous search for avant-garde solutions to common problems. With the help of Building Momentum, a small business that provides science and engineering consulting and technology development and training, Marines gained the knowledge needed to improve the mission effectiveness of their units.
Over the three-day course, Marines were challenged to manufacture innovative solutions for the problems presented to them. Separated into three teams, Marines spent the first day becoming familiar with the 3D printing software. The next day, they were required to manufacture an attachment between a water hose and a water bottle to create a make-shift shower head. On the final day, teams engaged in a competition to see which one could launch a ping-pong ball the furthest using PVC piping, rubber bands and the 3D part they created.
“I love this stuff and I feel very strongly about it because when you’re in the field you have to be innovative and even if you don’t have these tools with you at least your mind is open to other things,” Halsey said. “We didn’t specify how the Marines had to accomplish their tasks. We gave them few parameters and let them determine how they got it done.”
According to Staff Sgt. Benjamin Crain, facilities manager, 7th Marine Regiment, the training the Marines went through will open the doors to a more knowledgeable, effective fighting force.
“The idea was to get the majority of the Marines who are deploying to become familiarized with this process,” Crain said. “Not only will the Marines be able to perform their primary jobs, but if need be they can also produce products for their unit. We’re all about trying to minimize the amount of time but maximize the impact.”