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Old 17-11-2018, 10:38   #1
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Would You Go Cruising on a 3D-Printed Boat?

3D printing has been around a little while now, but it's made slow progress into boating. But recently there seems to be some developments with yacht builders buying some huge 3D printing machines. What's interesting is that a good light-weight material for boats that are 3D printed is . . . wood!

Hanse had some news around developng a 3D printed wood boat, but nothing recently.

Here's a short review of some of the fits and starts in this area:

3D Printed Boats Make Progress, Albeit Slowly | MyBoatSupplies

The wood filament used to 3D print seems a big flimsy at first, but once an object is finshed by the printer, it looks very solid.

What do you think about 3D printed boats? Would you do it?
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Old 17-11-2018, 20:53   #2
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Re: Would You Go Cruising on a 3D-Printed Boat?

Why? Must be a geek thing? But no, I'll stick with current build practices that have long track records. Now if they are free, or you are paying people to use these that is fine. Maybe model boat building is for this tech. Doubt any insurance companies will insure.
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Old 17-11-2018, 21:11   #3
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Re: Would You Go Cruising on a 3D-Printed Boat?

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Would You Go Cruising on a 3D-Printed Boat?

I have a hard time imagining that a purely 3-D printed boat would have the strength of a laid-up fiberglass hull with its overlapping cloth sheets. I also don't yet see the same surface quality in 3D prints as you can get from a good mold.



But the following might be possibilities:
- robotic technology doing the layup and wetting-out inside a conventional mold
- 3D-printing a shell that layup is then built on/in. It would mean you no longer need a mold, making one-off custom hulls more economical
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Old 17-11-2018, 22:48   #4
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Re: Would You Go Cruising on a 3D-Printed Boat?

From the link above, it looks like they are using it to make molds for some smaller boats. There's a video of how the mold is made (not from wood filament). For now, it seems more likely to be more useful for one-off designs, which means its for a high end builder.

It's interesting that two years ago Hanse announced a 31 footer 3D printed out of wood filament - but haven't heard anything since. Then there's Hinckley making specialty parts for its electric boat - out of metal.

From the article, it sounds like there are a lot of advantages for the manufacturing process - but the materials are very expensive, so may wash out any savings on labor.
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Old 18-11-2018, 00:47   #5
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Re: Would You Go Cruising on a 3D-Printed Boat?

I am interested in sintered aluminum.

Can you imagine engineering a structure composed of interlocking components, each amount of weight contributing to strength without adding bulk?

I'm in!
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Old 18-11-2018, 02:40   #6
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Re: Would You Go Cruising on a 3D-Printed Boat?

We have a 3d printer, have had one for 10years or so. The one we have now was cheap and makes quite accurate parts and I would think large scale it would be ideal for making boats.

You could design and print very strong and very lightweight boats completely custom each time with millions of sealed pockets in a honeycomb design. And super acurite.

The finish would need sanding but not filling. The finish off the machine could be better than current processes. The better the finish the slower the process. That would be the down side, time, but when finished, the fitout would only take days.

Not sure about wood ?
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Old 18-11-2018, 04:27   #7
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Re: Would You Go Cruising on a 3D-Printed Boat?

Without continuous strands of material (carbon or glass or wood planks or rolled metal) tying the surface together, I'd be uncomfortable. The only thing holding a 3D printed part together is the surface adhesion of whatever filament comes out of the nozzle to its neighbors. I've tested 3D printed belaying pins in real life, made from Nylon, ABS, and Nylon-12. They all had practical problems that made them worse than wood.

What I would be comfortable with is a 3D printed honeycomb core structure that could be glassed over inside and out. It would save vast amounts of time on one-off construction where you have to build a form, fair it, mold-release, and then build the boat which must then itself be faired. With the shape of the hull being perfect out of the printer, it's not hard to lay up the glass or carbon in such a way that fairing is minimized--you just have to have a plan and pay attention to your seams.
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Old 18-11-2018, 07:16   #8
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Re: Would You Go Cruising on a 3D-Printed Boat?

I'm with Benz. A 3D printed honeycomb core with a nice fiberglass layup wouldn't be so bad and it MIGHT be cheap, especially for a one off. You could take a basic design and tweak it through software, even print a 1/12 model and study its stability, actual waterline, etc. Make the stern fatter and flatter for inshore racing. Make it finer for offshore. Make the boat capacious and stiff for ocean cruising. fiddle with the keel shape and placement. All in 3D Cad with empirical testing with an actual model. You would potentially have a very well insulated hull, deck, and house. But 3D printing would not by itself give you the level of structural strength I have grown accustomed to in fiberglass hulls. A few layers of glass and resin would seem to be the missing element.
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Old 18-11-2018, 10:25   #9
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Re: Would You Go Cruising on a 3D-Printed Boat?

To all-
ya fly around the world on 3D printed airplane parts.
propellers for ships are being made via 3D,
World military defense parts (like the missiles ) are using 3D parts

I recall the 60's when fiberglass was new...
I recall when Burger made the largest aluminum motor yacht (all 60 feet)
I recall when a supertanker was 800' ...

Its all about price and testing......
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Old 18-11-2018, 10:31   #10
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Re: Would You Go Cruising on a 3D-Printed Boat?

I havenít listened to the video due to bandwidth constraints, but it should be explaining GEís new ATP or advanced turboprop.
I worked with these guys certifying the first airplane to use the GE H-80 engine and am aware of this new engine, it will be largely 3D printed, due to the fact that you can print much more complex structures than you can easily machine.
https://youtu.be/DaldjP0VDNM
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Old 18-11-2018, 10:54   #11
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Re: Would You Go Cruising on a 3D-Printed Boat?

Dr. Choi made me a 3D printed tooth that lasted several months last year. so I would not go to sea in one, but I would go see one, especially if I could watch the giant printer print it. Do you have to paint it afterwards, or epoxy coat it, or is all that printed too? It is a weird, fascinating world I am in. I read 40 years ago that 1/2 the inventions ever invented were in the last ten years, and that that has been true for a couple million years, maybe beginning with sharp sticks. Having Dr. Choi 3D print you a tooth beats a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, but not by much.
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Old 18-11-2018, 12:06   #12
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Re: Would You Go Cruising on a 3D-Printed Boat?

I remembered reading something from auto desk about working with someone to 3d print a hull. Here it is:

https://3dprint.com/173921/livrea-autodesk-3d-printed-yacht/
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Old 18-11-2018, 13:55   #13
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Re: Would You Go Cruising on a 3D-Printed Boat?

We call it printing, but itís not, itís actually called additive manufacturing.
I think that a decent argument can be made that most if not all fiberglass boats have always been made by additive manufacturing.
Even a cheap piece of junk chopper gun, is a form of printer is it not?
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Old 18-11-2018, 14:07   #14
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Re: Would You Go Cruising on a 3D-Printed Boat?

I have no problem with an engine part or propeller being 3D printed: they don't have to keep the water out.
And I wouldn't go to sea on a boat built only by chopper gun....

No doubt 3D printing is already far beyond what I could ever imagine, but the question was whether I'd be comfortable going to sea in a printed boat. I would not at this time, and will wait until they have proven themselves before I do so.
Every technology has to evolve, and there are always hiccups in the development. I prefer to innovate only where I understand things well, especially when it comes to safety and the preservation of life.
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Old 18-11-2018, 14:45   #15
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Re: Would You Go Cruising on a 3D-Printed Boat?

An interesting idea when we first thought about buying a 3D printer. The 3D print machine manufactures vision for the future was that eventually manufacturing plants would close down and be replaced by businesses with various 3D printers in the factory.

and us, currently as manufactures would just be designers and sales, we would sell a licence to produce 1 or a 1,000 or 10,000 locks to a builder in some far off part of the world who would then go and see their local 3D print shop to have them printed up.

I think that day is coming, but too slow for me, that would be a great thing to do drifting around the world.
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