Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: New Orleans Louisiana
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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.
Last edited by Stumble; 12-11-2013 at 09:55 PM.