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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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  #11  
Old 12-11-2013
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Re: 3D Printing of Sailboats

I actually know someone who produces 3D printed metal parts as his business. Those commerical machines are hundreds of thousands of dollars. I've seen the machines in action. They take an entire day to make a part the size of your fist. Incredibly cool, but the tech doesn't seem practical on the scale of a boat. It might be your classic, "high tech solution to a low tech problem" Just laying a hull up by hand may not be slower or more expensive per unit.

Also, can the technology create an object with multiple materials? I've only seen one metal or one plastic used. If you wanted a different material on the skin from the core, I'm not sure the printers can do that??
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Re: 3D Printing of Sailboats

Vimes, that was interesting. Maybe its time to go back to ferrocement boats!
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Re: 3D Printing of Sailboats

I have all the software and my 3D guy, Jody Culbertson, is certainly capable of producing the models.
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Re: 3D Printing of Sailboats

Do you count CNC cutters? (If not, why not?) People have been using them to make plugs for years. Hulls need lots of tensile strength, which is why people make them out of fiberglass (or CF). Additive 3D printing can build things with high compressive strength, but it's hard to get things with sufficient tensile strength.

3D printed parts (such as sintered titanium) are just becoming practical for aerospace, presumably we'll see some entering use on high end race boats before too long.
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Re: 3D Printing of Sailboats

My eldest is a sterolithographer, has been for a decade or so. He runs a floor full of the massive production ones and does rapid prototyping as well.
The machines he runs are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars range. These aren't printers - they build the product one layer at a time from the bottom up in a vat of goop (that's how I understand it, but I'm a database guy).
They are no where near big enough to do more than say an engine block.

A yacht? Dream on. Wrong material, and you'd need months of run time.
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Re: 3D Printing of Sailboats

The more I think about this idea, the more I wonder. Say someone with a decent, large 3-D printer in St. Croix. I wonder if the time it would take to print and the cost would be less than just ordering and having it mailed... Even if you can assume that the printers had enough of the materials on hand and access to the design to print

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Re: 3D Printing of Sailboats

Remember the hull is only a portion of the finished build. You still have to install all the systems, run the plumbing, electrical, ect... I am sure the printing would allow for some interesting design advantages however. Like buries conduit, integral fuel lines, that just aren't possible with current manufacturing capabilities.

Long term I think it will happen, but I am sure it will take a while. Current sintering technology allows about 1in^3 an hour to be layer down per machine. This was from a 1mx1m machine, so on a 12m (abt 40') boat with a 3.7m (12') beam you could squeeze in say 50 print heads. At 50 cubic inches/hr, that's 1,200 cubic inches a day, or roughly 120lbs of aluminium hull a day. I have no idea off hand, but let's say a typical 40' hull in aluminium weighs in at 5,500lbs. At 120lbs per day that comes out to about 45 days of printing time.

I am not sure what current construction time would be for just the shell, but I would actually guess that isn't that far off current methods.


Edit: updated hull weight based upon more acurate numbers.
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Re: 3D Printing of Sailboats

If things are close to equal, I could see where doing things that couldn't be done with the traditional methods (or traditional as they stand now), it seems 3-D wold have an advantage.

But I have an off topic queston why would you want buried conduit? what if you needed access? It seems to me that could be a barrier
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Re: 3D Printing of Sailboats

As a holder of a BS in Biology who is going for his masters in bioengineering I can tell you the future is 3D printing without a doubt.
They will print food from cartiredges with 30 year shelf life which will stop loads of starvation and famine. They will have industrial sized printers which are towed in 18 wheelers and brought to job sites toconstruct buildings. 3d printers will create microscopic bots which are injected to your blood stream and provide real time information on your hdl, ldl, blood and hormone levels ect. These bots will also be able to remove plaque from arteries or signal that a person is about to have a stroke or heart attack ect.
3d printing will result in arms and munitions factories underground including by terrorist.
printing will result in sailboat manurfacturing as well as cars, houses, objects, foods, literally the possibilities are endless.

If any of you have kids I strongly encourage you to have them pursue a science education or engineering education as the fields of bioengineering, protein and gene therapy, 3d printing and manurfacturing will have incredible oppertunities.
great thread!
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Re: 3D Printing of Sailboats

we have one here. it can do a 3' cube part. takes forever and is very cost prohibitive. it is fun to do though. we had a very small scale one in our cubes for a bit, again fun to play with but after a while it becomes dull. they are useful for one off parts or interference checks. to actually try to print parts off faster or more economically than machining and fab, may be a very very long way off.
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