Portable 3D Printing is a reality as the Mark Two goes mobile

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Portable 3D Printing is a reality as the Mark Two goes mobile

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Fieldmade AS is a deep tech company that specialise in providing products and services to solve logistics challenges with additive solutions. Fieldmade products encompass digital inventory software, Nomad® in-field additive manufacturing products and digital supply chain consultancy services.

Fieldmade AS support mainly (but not exclusively) the energy and defence sectors.

At a glance

  • The key components were 3D printed

  • Field trials were very extensive

  • Mobilising 3D printing

  • Autonomous and sustainable

  • Deployment requires high print success, ultra-tough parts, and great machine reliability

  • Truly portable printing

  • Stabilising system

  • Uninterrupted power supply

  • Sustainment packs for extended deployment

  • Print in all environments

Challenge

The advantages of additive manufacturing are becoming more defined each day and nowadays engineers are wanting to take their printers with them in-field. Originally starting life as a military research project, the requirements for an in-field printing solution had existed for some time. Being aware of this the team at Fieldmade AS, the Norwegian based logistics and supply chain specialist, set about solving the challenge of mobilising 3D printing, in particular for military applications. As users of Markforged equipment themselves since 2016 the engineering team created a specification for an autonomous and sustainable in-field 3D printing solution, based on a Markforged Mark Two printer. They made this decision based on their positive ongoing experience which had delivered high print success rates, ultra-tough parts and demonstrated great overall machine reliability.

As CTO Svein Hjelmtveit explains “We have a number of Markforged machines ourselves, so this made our decision to base the Nomad® LW project around the Markforged machine easy. Having to recommend a machine that’s going to travel in the back of trucks or put in shipping containers and then airfreighted somewhere in the world wasn’t really a hard decision”. “Interestingly there were 2 other benefits to us owning our own machines as well: 1. We could quickly prototype the whole solution around our own machine and test it thoroughly. 2. We knew the final solution needed to be strong to withstand the rough treatment
it would face, so we 3D printed as many parts in Onyx as we could. It was much faster and 10x cheaper than machining aluminium – Markforged prints are tough and more than man enough for this job”.

“In a strange kind of way our Markforged machines are self-replicating. Anything that could be 3D printed, either out of Onyx or as a composite, has been done”.
– Svein Hjelmtveit, Fieldmade CTO

Specification

The final specification took input from a wide range of end users and data from field trials

After feedback from suppliers and field trials the final specification was signed off and production of the Nomad® LW started in 2018, along with some other products in the Nomad range. Initially deliveries were based on 6 units placed in to racks, with final set up at destination.

Quickly it was identified that truly portable printing was also a requirement, and the engineering team further developed the LW to include some more functionality, this included working without power, a stabilising system for mobile printing over rugged terrain and lockable wheels on the bottom of the (even tougher) travel case.

The initial ‘mobile’ printers quickly found their way in to the hands of special forces and were tested in a wide range of conditions for 12 months. Deployments included extreme cold in the Nordics, to swelteringly hot deserts and a number of places Fieldmade will never know. Further testing took place in moving vehicles, on ships and in field based exercises.

The Nomad® LW we see today is being used across many different applications and continues to be refined. It now includes specially configured sustainment packs that include enough materials and consumables to print for 3 months, along with all major spares. When units are returned to base the sustainment packs are replenished and made ready for the next trip.

The Nomad® LW product has been released across the majority of Europe in collaboration with the Mark3D Group of companies.

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metal-x-3d-drucker-markforged-bauteile

The NOMAD® LW is the ultimate solution for on-the-go manufacturing.

  • Deploy – Plug and print

  • Ruggedized transport casing

  • Integrated transport stabilization

  • Closed cell for ideal print environment

  • Integrated uninterrupted power supply

  • Weight <70kg

  • Field serviceable

  • Sustainment Packs

  • Spares Kit

The Nomad® LW – Specs

The final specification took input from a wide range of end users and date from field trials

After feedback from suppliers and field trials the final specification was signed off and production of the Nomad® LW started in 2018, along with some other products in the Nomad range. Initially deliveries were based on 6 units placed in to racks, with final set up at destination.

ProcessFused filament fabrication, Continuous Filament Fabrication
Build Volume320 x 132 x 154 mm (12.6 x 5.2
x 6 in)
Footprint800 x 600 mm
Print bedKinematic coupling – flat to within 160 μm
MaterialsPlastics AvailableOnyx, Nylon White, P-PLA,
S-TPU
Fibres AvailableCarbon fiber, fiberglass, Kevlar
®, HSHT fiberglass
Part PropertiesLayer Height100 μm default, 200 μm maximum
SoftwareOptionsCloud and fully offline versions
available
SecurityTwo-factor authentication, org
admin access, single sign-on

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Feel the strength of continuous fiber for yourself.

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