Training company Building Momentum are using LulzBot 3D printers to train the US Marines in creative problem solving and innovation.
Building Momentum is a company based in Alexandria, Virginia which provides consulting on science, engineering, and technology development to defense, education, corporate, and entrepreneurial organizations.
Since 2015, Building Momentum has been helping innovators around the world, providing intensive instruction in such fields as mobile lab design, 3D printing in combat, and CAD software.
“We’re the people who go to strange places and do MacGyver-like things, and we do a lot of training for that with the US Marine Corps,” said CEO and Founder Brad Halsey.
Having mastered 3D printing during his own deployment in Iraq, solving problems in high pressure conditions, Halsey was inspired to share his expertise and enthusiasm.
About his client base, Halsey says, “Anyone from teachers to Seal Team guys, you name it. The client who has gotten most of our training is the U.S. Marine Corps, and all of our training is extremely immersive.”
Building Momentum’s training includes team-oriented challenges requiring a combination of emerging technology and creativity in order to achieve a technical objective within a designated time constraint. They present multi-faceted creative challenges under pressure, every day for a week or more.
When asked about specific applications US Marines may use 3D printers for, Halsey was quick to dismiss the notion of weapons: “A lot of the things we focus on are some other types of solutions and development technologies, things that can help in other ways that aren’t just some weapon accoutrement.”
Buckles, handles, camera mounts, and other things that have a tendency to break can be designed and printed in a matter of hours, instead of waiting days or even months for a replacement.
US Marines Learn Problem Solving Through Technology
Halsey recently returned to the United States from Kuwait, where his team supplied Marines with LulzBot TAZ 6 3D Printers and provided training on deconstruction and reassembly.
“The TAZ 6s that we have in Kuwait, we teach them how to tear them down and build them back up,” Halsey said. “Having the ability to remake the parts is actually pretty useful, and that’s one of the reasons we like the TAZ over other printers.”
The fact that LulzBot 3D Printers are certified Open Source Hardware is a important to Halsey, who believes in the advantages of Free and Open Source technology.
“I have a very strong and adamant philosophy that whatever I teach a Marine, they have to be able to do at home, after hours, overseas, anywhere they can,” Halsey said “So we train everyone explicitly, as much as humanly possible, to use Open Source stuff.”
For Halsey and his team, training is only the beginning. Building Momentum will soon be opening their own community-driven, co-working makerspace in Washington D.C. where small businesses, artists, and educators can gain full-time access to machines and training courses for rapid prototyping as well as artistic innovation.
“If you use a TAZ 6 to make a product and it’s going well, you’re going to buy more TAZ 6s as you expand your business,” Halsey says.