U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Tracey Taylor, a computer technician with 7th Communications Battalion, pictured here aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Hansen in Okinawa, Japan, is one of the Marines that utilize 3D printing technology to expand capabilities within the unit. Taylor, originally from Germany and recruited from San Antonio, Texas, is in charge of operating the 3D printer and assists in reproducing parts. (Photo by United States Marine Corps Cpl. George Melendez)
U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Tracey Taylor, a computer technician with 7th Communications Battalion, pictured here aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Hansen in Okinawa, Japan, is one of the Marines that utilize 3D printing technology to expand capabilities within the unit. Taylor, originally from Germany and recruited from San Antonio, Texas, is in charge of operating the 3D printer and assists in reproducing parts. (Photo by United States Marine Corps Cpl. George Melendez)

New 3D printing method may give Marines a leg up

by Cpl. George Melendez
III MEF Information Group

The world has now entered the age of innovation. The evolution of technology has offered a world of capabilities to those who have access to it, specifically within the Department of Defense. The Marine Corps have become a big part of utilizing technology to become a more efficient war-fighter force.

Marines in Okinawa are leading the way in planning and implementing how 3D printing may help keep the Marine Corps engaged and reading in a highly contested area like the Indo-Pacific Theater.

Two Marines, Sgt. Adrian J. Willis and Lance Cpl. Tracey Taylor, computer technicians with 7th Communications Battalion, III MEF Information Group are utilizing 3D printing technology to increase their unit’s readiness.

“With this technology, we can reduce the time we wait to receive parts eliminating any complacency that may breed from that downtime,” said Willis, from Las Vegas, Nev. “It allows us to reconcile vulnerabilities by creating the parts locally, streamlining the process.”

Taylor, originally from Germany and recruited from San Antonio, Texas, is in charge of operating the 3D printer and assists in reproducing parts while Willis is in charge of expanding the printer’s capabilities. Willis will also establish the unit’s procedures in the future.

Operators create 3D files of desired product like caps and other desired products through sketches and software. Once created, Taylor says it’s as easy as pressing print.

The printer localizes the maintenance process and reduces the time it takes to receive the desired part. In the past, shipping delays or discontinued parts would weaken a unit’s readiness. Innovations like 3D printing allow unit’s extend the life cycle of equipment and maintain readiness of gear, saving the Marine Corps a lot of time and money.

“The printer will help us increase our war fighting capabilities, allowing us to assess and fix problems instantly,” Taylor said. “We can just print anything out right then and there.”

Willis and Taylor, taught themselves how to work with the 3D printer and its program. They have taken the initiative to make the Marine Corps’ use of the printer even better providing a path for future innovation within the DoD.

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