3D print a Yacht

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by kwhilborn, Nov 11, 2014.

  1. Stumble
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    Stumble Senior Member

    Tansl,

    I think it here are some gains to be made in SLS boats eventually. I can very easily see building an aluminium hull like this, with all the design freedom of 3d printing, and using well known material properties their could be som real savings. The problem as I see it right now is speed. The fastest sls machines are orders of magnitude away from where they would need to be to product a hull in the requisite time period.

    However I think speed will improve. So over the long haul it very well be possible to email a boat builder a cad file and a few months later have a printed hull. What this would mean for design freedom i have no idea, but by eliminating waste, and removing issues with blind welds, material bend restrictions, and eliminating the need for strong backs. I can see the possibility for cost savings.

    The problem is the op seems to think this is just around the corner, I think it might be doable in 20 years. The technology is improving, and on a large project like a boat you could certainly build a machine with multiple print heads operating simultaneously to speed things up. But this has to be balanced against machine cost and operating costs.
     
  2. TANSL
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    TANSL Senior Member

    Stumble,
    From the first moment I'm talking about the strength of the material contributed by the 3D printer. When the mechanical properties of the material are appropriate, of course you can make hulls !. I never doubted. You do not have to convince me of anything. As everyone knows, robots were invented decades ago.
    Besides, the price and processing time will be low enough to replace other systems ?. At that time, it will be feasible.
    At this time, the truth, use 3D printers to produce floats does not seem very bright.
     
  3. Tiny Turnip
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    Tiny Turnip Senior Member

    I'm of the view that, exciting as the technology is, it is difficult to see economic application for any mass produced items because of the print time in any large and complex form; prototypes, custom builds and one offs yes. In my field, Architecture, a lot of people are very excited about the prospects, but a(n architect designed) building is usually a one off, and takes a long time from design to completion, so a 3d printed building might well still be competitive compared to a traditional build.

    Anyway, developing the area of composite materials, there's very interesting work being done by Neri Oxman at MIT. She refers to 3d print with 'differentiated' materials and 'functionally graded' materials.

    Polyjet printing already allows printing of different materials from the same print head at the same time.

    Oxman is also working with print heads on robot arms, rather than gantries, which allows continuous printing in position of, say, a reinforcement filament, which can then have more strength than a reinforcement filament built up from individually deposited 'voxels'(3d pixels) from repeated passes of a print head on a gantry.

    There's a load of material out there on her work; here's one article:
    http://www.technologyreview.com/article/515501/redesigning-product-design/

    [​IMG]

    And this is her research group at MIT

    http://www.media.mit.edu/research/groups/mediated-matter

    A number of Oxman's projects here are relevant to discussion.

    And here is a company printing in carbon fibre:

    http://www.cnet.com/uk/news/worlds-first-carbon-fibre-3d-printer-announced/

     
  4. Tiny Turnip
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    Tiny Turnip Senior Member

    Of course, 3d print would allow architects to build building forms which were much more, erm.... *flamboyant* than hitherto :D
     
  5. Rurudyne
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    Rurudyne Senior Member

    ... a whole generation of "what the heck were they thinking?" homes....
     
  6. kwhilborn
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    kwhilborn Junior Member

    I think printing a framed in Yacht is already a possibility although not cost effective. I can say it may not come to fruition any time soon, but it most definitely will.

    To not even explore the possibility is not a rational solution. Why ignore something that is possible today.`
     
  7. TANSL
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    TANSL Senior Member

    Nobody says not to explore the possibility, on the contrary, what I´m saying is that for the possibility to become a reality we must solve problems that, at the moment, have not a simple/cheap solution or have no solution.
    It would be interesting to know what those problems are and how they are being solved.
    To bend a metalic extrusion will always be cheaper than printing it, imo.
     
  8. bpw
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    bpw Senior Member

    I looked at your links and saw a few crude canoes and a bunch of cutting files, but no pictures of actual boats of any size floating in the water. One cutting file link had a very small picture of something maybe 10 feet long but the pic was so small I am not even sure it isn't a rendering. If people are actually building quality boats this way please link since I am very curious. Would also like to see some dimensions including weight. You started this discussion with cruising boats so I don't see the relevance of small kayaks to what you want to do.

    There is a reason plastic kayaks work but plastic cruising sailboats don't. Has to do with weight to stiffness problems once you start designing things that are not basically narrow tubes like a kayak.
     
  9. bpw
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    bpw Senior Member

    The problem is these are great floats, but really crappy boats.
     
  10. Ja guar
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    Ja guar Junior Member

    Like previous posters, I see problems with achieving the desired mechanical properties of strength and modulus.

    However, what the printing process may be useful is for fabricating a core structure, over which FRP skins can be laid up. it would be a dream to be able to alter the core thickness at any part of the hull/deck you desire.
     
  11. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    Ja guar
    This may actually be the best suggestion yet.
    Core still needs to be light weight with high stiffness (geometry or material but generally both at the same time). The best cores have high strength fibers.
    Of course you need to be able to bond to it with high strength also - not true with all plastics.
    You also need to be able to selectively make a solid "core" with good compressive or crush strength for fastener locations. Core also need to not allow water to creep thru it (weight gain during use).

    Stumble,
    I haven't seen aluminum printing yet. Do you have an example of at least 6061 T6 strength?
     
  12. Ja guar
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    Ja guar Junior Member

    While I never like to discount new technology, one of the problems with printing metals (where you apparently melt metal powder) is that I suspect the metallurgy of the end product will not duplicate that of the original metal/alloy. As I recall, metals (steel anyways) have a crystalline structure which tends to dictate a lot of the properties and are not a homogeneous blob.
     
  13. TANSL
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    TANSL Senior Member

    Seems thatn the most feasible solution, now and in the future, is to use the system for fabricating a core structure. But only justified by the fact that someone is endeavoring to use this system, as one can ask whether it is cheaper, tougher and faster than the traditional manufacturing sandwich method :
    • existing materials for the core are ralativamente cheap.
    • the overall and shear resistance of current materials is very high.
    • the current manufacturing method of sandwich, by infusion, is very fast.
    • apply the outer and inner layers of the FRP core made of the new system will force to turn the hull, at intermediate stages of production, with the complications and downtime that this entails.
    What have to do the 3D printer system to outperform existing methods in these areas?
    In my opinion, there are many aspects of this method should, some of them be improved and a few other fixes (because currently they have not solution), to think that 3D printing hulls is a possible method.
     
  14. Ja guar
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    Ja guar Junior Member

    I should have qualified my core suggestion by saying it likely would only be useful for a one-off. For a production boat, probably not so useful, as TANSL points out.
     

  15. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Plastic (rotomolded) boats have been produced for quite a while. In North Carolina they make poweboats up to 20 feet. That is way larger than just kayaks. I printed some blades for a windmill prototype, and one of the options was to make it as a honeycomb. The cavities are filled with a soluble materials that gets washed away at the end. This is a possibility for cored structures where the reinforcement webs are aligned in ideal direction.
     
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