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Old 11-20-2013
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Re: Pros and cons of steel sailboats


Those are some beautiful designs, but may I make a suggestion?

You were talking about casting some of the fittings on the boat by printing 3d molds. I would really recommend against this. Casting is great where strength and porosity aren't concerns, but in structural applications it is a little questionable.

When I was working for a titanium fabrication company we did a lot of custom work with 3d printed molds, but instead of casting we used a process called sintering. It is similar to casting in that a mold is made then material is poured in, but unlike casting it uses powdered metal which is then heated and held under high pressure. The heat/pressure causes the powder to fuse into a solid mass, but without the voids typical of a cast part.

Basically you get the formability of a cast part with the strength of a machined part. Once you make the decision to make custom parts, the cost between the two is pretty minimal. Sintered parts are more expensive, but not terribly so.
Greg Rubin