Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command

NAVFAC EXWC Prints First Topographic 3D Model of DOD’s Largest Instrumental Navy Sea Test Range

09/24/20 11:57 AM

Naval Facilities (NAVFAC) Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center (EXWC) Public Works Department has commissioned NAVFAC EXWC’s Additive Manufacturing (AM) Team to create a topographic 3D model of Naval Base Ventura County’s (NBVC) San Nicolas Island (SNI), home to the Point Mugu Sea Range.

The Point Mugu Sea Range is the largest instrumental U.S. Navy sea test range facility within the Department of Defense (DOD), and one of several sea test range facilities worldwide.

The 3D topographic model is the first of its kind for the Point Mugu Sea Range, designed for local DOD agencies to work with scaled modeling displaying finite topographic details for planning purposes. The request for the Point Mugu Sea Range topographic 3D model comes from systems engineering, technical planning and acquisition programs across the Department of the Navy to acquire more specific forms of modeling to support future product planning of land and sea ranges. This increase in modeling is also perpetuated by the DOD’s continued forward position of advancing naval capabilities to compete with foreign adversaries.

“When I think of the Point Mugu Sea Range model, it makes the base planner’s job easier because it is 3-dimensional,” said Mr. Robert Nordahl, NAVFAC EXWC Microgrid Power Systems Team Lead. “For bases that have significant elevation changes, a 2-dimensional drawing can be misleading. The 3-dimensional view allows planners and management to realistically view potential project sites and their affects.”

NAVFAC EXWC’s Public Works Department rapidly commissioned NAVFAC EXWC’s AM Team to print the topographic 3D model. Made from environmentally sustainable thermoplastic and polymer (processed material from starch enriched plants such as corn, sugar cane and sugar beet), the topographic 3D model is scaled to 4 inches per mile, with a final fabrication of roughly 3.5 x 2.6 ft. representing approximately 21,000 square miles of ocean. Twelve printers worked simultaneously at full capacity to fabricate the entire model within two working days.

“Community planners need to develop both short and long-term solutions to improve and revitalize communities across our naval installations,” said Mr. Brian Olson, NAVFAC Senior Community Planner. “Utilizing a 3D model of the community at large assists in facilitating proper land use. With a physical model, it is significantly easier for our team at San Nicolas Island to make informed decisions in developing and redeveloping our military base.”

The Point Mugu Sea Range topographic 3D model highlights the diverse capabilities within the newly established additive manufacturing component of NAVFAC EXWC’s Expeditionary Programs Office (ExPO). The Point Mugu Sea Range 3D topographic model provided a local opportunity for NAVFAC EXWC’s AM Team to further integrate and expand their capabilities within the DOD community, just as they begun using new material selection, including metals and cements. This new component to ExPO’s diverse portfolio of expeditionary programs offer future sponsors the option to employ a variety of manufacturing solutions at a fraction of cost, while using environmentally sound materials and machining methods.

“While 2020 has been a year of travel restrictions, NAVFAC EXWC has cut through the chaos to expand the reach of their AM capabilities,” said Kevin Vargas, NAVFAC EXWC Mechanical Engineer. “We’ve collaborated with Naval Construction Group One to create a combined AM fabrication laboratory in Port Hueneme to allow us to train users and provide a collaborative workspace. EXWC continues to expand the availability of AM-enabled remote part production throughout the NAVFAC enterprise with the goal of improving NAVFAC’s resilience in responding to the needs of their disparate and remote users around the globe.”

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