We've seen 3D-printed houses, ceilings, and bridges. But one of the most sensible uses for the technology may be by the U.S. Marine Corps, which recently finished printing the world's first 3D-printed concrete barracks. The new technique is safer and less wasteful compared to conventional construction methods–and the research, a collaboration with the architectural firm SOM, could change how emergency housing and infrastructure are built, too.
"The clearest advantage is flexibility," Captain Matt Friedell, the Additive Manufacturing Lead at the Marine Corps Systems Command, headquartered in Quantico, Virginia, says over email. "We can make walls, obstacles, buildings, and other structures while reducing waste and building safer structures for disaster response both in the U.S. and abroad."