Texas Just Got a Rad-Looking 3D-Printed Military Barracks

Texas Just Got a Rad-Looking 3D-Printed Military Barracks
  • Texas Guardsmen now have new barracks, thanks to 3D-printing technology.

  • Using computer-controlled nozzles, the buildings were built out of a concrete mixture onsite.

  • Such technology could allow the military to quickly build semi-permanent buildings in remote locations.

Coming in at over 3,000 square feet, North America's largest 3D-printed structure is here—and it's a set of two military barracks on the grounds of Camp Swift Training Center in Bastrop, Texas.

ICON, an Austin, Texas-based 3D-printing company that develops advanced construction technologies for the Texas Military Department, completed the new barracks last month. For context, the Texas Military Department oversees all three branches of the Texas Guard. So that means members of the Texas Army National Guard, Texas Air National Guard, and Texas Guard (a state militia organization) will all get to enjoy the new barracks, which are meant as a place to rest and relax during weekend drills.

Austin, Texas-based Logan Architecture originally designed the 3,800-square-foot barracks, which are meant to house up to 72 Guardsmen at a time. The concrete structures, a spokesman for the Texas Military Department stated, are anticipated to last for decades, according to a press release.

To build the structure, an enormous printing machine sprayed a concrete mixture into stacked layers. The technology, the Texas Military Department says, could be a blueprint for faster construction of military housing and fortifications in the future, particularly in remote areas.

A cutaway diagram of the barracks project shows the building's walls are made from two layers of concrete mixture, with a layer of insulation in between. This should keep the building warm in the winters, and cool during the hot Texas summers. A third layer was laid down on top, joining both vertical layers and providing structural reinforcement. Cut-outs in the design accommodated spaces for doors and windows that were added later. A warehouse-type roof was added to complete the barracks.

Photo credit: ICON
Photo credit: ICON

The U.S. military is increasingly looking at 3D-printing construction as a way to quickly build hardened, durable structures. While military construction teams might build equally large wood-framed tent structures, a 3D-printed structure made out of concrete will protect troops inside from hostile fire. In 2020, Icon printed a concrete shelter for a HIMARS truck-mounted rocket launcher in just 36 hours.

So, 3D printing really could become the military's go-to construction technique both at home and abroad. At home, so-called additive manufacturing promises to build durable structures in mere hours, which could be useful when setting up facilities for displaced persons, including those arriving from Afghanistan. In wartime troops could quickly build bunkers, weapons positions, and headquarters to strengthen their fighting position from enemy attack.

Such hardened facilities would be particularly useful given the proliferation of proximity fused cannon rounds that promise to tear through traditional earthen-works, including trenches and sandbag fortifications. It is increasingly clear, as the video above shows, that traditional trenches and foxholes are no longer going to cut it as protection on the battlefield.

🎥 Now Watch This:

You Might Also Like