3D Print the Navy's Beach Storming Behemoth at Home

Popular Science asked 3D modeler extraordinaire Don Foley to design a 3D printable model of the US Navy’s new concept-heavy equipment lander, the Ultra Heavy-Lift Amphibious Connector (UHAC), and they are giving the model away for free.

3D printed uhac beach stormer concept vehicle for popular scienceThe Navy’s beach stormer concept vehicle will be a massive behemoth, large enough to carry three full size tanks to shore. And, while the treads may look intimidating, they are actually air-filled foam that can carry the beach stormer’s heavy payload with less ground pressure than an adult foot. It displaces mass so evenly that it will effortlessly drive right over a muddy beach that would bog down a soldier on foot and get him stuck in mud.

While designing his 3D model of the UHAC in lightwave 3D, Foley briefly considered building the treads so that they would actually rotate. He decided against it because he was worried that most 3D printers would not be able to print the model correctly with that level of detail, so he left them static. Here is a 3D render of the final model:

The UHAC model was printed on Foley’s new Wanhao Duplicator 4s in MakerGeeks Foxy Silver PLA and took about 13 hours to print. The tool path was exceptionally long on the model because of the design of the over-sized treads, so he decided to set the resolution to .20mm, rather than his typical .10mm. Though the model is very detailed, Foley said that this decreased resolution didn’t noticeably affect the final print. If you download the model and decide to print it yourself, you can bump up the resolution, but it will likely take close to 24 hours to print.

don foley 3D printed uhac beach stormer concept vehicle from the navyThe beach stormer model prints in only six parts and all parts can be joined with super glue. Each part has a peg or an indent that indicates where the parts fit together, so it should be pretty easy to assemble. The final model will be about five inches long and about three inches across. Because the model is printed in PLA, you can easily sand and smooth the model if you need to, and it should accept paint very well.

And, just in case you thought the UHAC was going to remain a concept, the Navy has already built and tested a working half-scale prototype vehicle. You can see a video of the beach stormer in action here:

The model is available for free on the Popular Science website, and Foley has also added the model to his webstore. You can find detailed print-and-build instructions for the model here.