MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, North Carolina -- Marines with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force - Southern Command learned three-dimensional printing fundamentals with General Support Maintenance Company, 2nd Maintenance Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 25, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, April 19-20, 2017.
The two-day 3-D Printing Training Course gave the Marines hands-on experience with 3-D printers as well as instruction in compatible software.
"We've been learning how to create computer-aided designs and computer-aided manufacturing files that can be used in conjunction with a 3-D printer,” said Sgt. Andrew J. Miller, embarkation chief with the Command Element, SPMAGTF-SC.
The technology allows forward-deployed units to create small parts to repair broken equipment at a faster rate.
"Units are starting to deploy these printers in the field,” said Cpl. Christopher A. Bigham, instructor for the course and machine shop noncommissioned officer with GSM Co., 2nd Maint. Bn., CLR 25, 2nd MLG. “That way if something breaks, they can make something to replace it in a few hours rather than wait two or three days to get a replacement in."
The training is open to Marines from every military occupational specialty and gives Marines a new perspective on their gear.
“I think this training is good for Marines,” Miller said. “It's another skill set that we now have. It gives Marines who are not necessarily familiar with this type of work the training to assist in this process.”
In addition to the speed and cost-saving benefits these machines provide, they also allow Marines to apply creative solutions in tactical scenarios. Cpl. Joshua P. Santos, a motor vehicle operator with the Logistics Combat Element, SPMAGTF-SC, used the training as an opportunity to develop a new prototype for the T-handle used to secure a vehicle cover on some military vehicles. Santos’ design uses a ratcheting mechanism to secure the handle and a lever for quick release, with the goal of saving time normally used to screw the T-handle into the vehicle frame.
“These parts can be used to fully replace or add gear a Marine needs while conducting a mission,” Santos said. “Marines who come up with great innovative ideas now have software and printers to make their ideas come to life.”