The Marine Corps and XFAB
XFAB is a transportable and self-contained, additive manufacturing lab that can be deployed with battalion-level Marine maintenance units. The lab is 20-by-20 feet and is collapsible for easier transport. Inside there are five 3D printers including two desktop printers, two industrial carbon fiber printers, and our 3D Platform 300 Series large format printer. In addition, the lab includes laser scanners and cutters, and a corresponding computer design software system.
The XFAB container is powered by a generator or shore power, and can be set up or torn down by a team of four Marines in roughly two-to-three hours. Its weight, when fully equipped, tops the scales at about 10,500 pounds and can be transported via the Logistics Vehicle System Replacement or a typical commercial flatbed truck.
XFAB has been in development for over five years, and will eventually provide Marines with an opportunity to fabricate their own manufacturing tools, parts, and signage. This unique capability will offer much-needed support in forward-deployed expeditionary environments where specialty and hard-to-find parts are not readily available.