3D Printing a Boat...mold

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by malebuffy, Aug 23, 2015.

  1. malebuffy
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    malebuffy is in the house!

    Hello,

    I would like your thoughts about using a 3D printer, in order to print a Boat hull mold. Something similar has been done in the past but I want to go bigger. That means that I won't print the actual boat, but print the molds in oder to do the typical fiberglass procedure.

    So the idea looks like this:

    - You buy a 3D Printer
    - Buy or design a boat in 3D (CAD)
    - Print the Design in pieces

    So what do you experienced boat builders think, possible or SciFi?
     
  2. TANSL
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    TANSL Senior Member

    I guess there are many problems still unresolved. One that particularly worries me is that the material in which the model's parts are printed has sufficient structural strength.
     
  3. malebuffy
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    malebuffy is in the house!

    The material is ABS, which is one of the strongest plastics. Lego bricks are made of ABS. Have you ever stepped on one in the middle of the night? :)

    But you are right. Fiberglass and catalyst produce heat, which could bend the printed materials. However there are noumerous ways to overcome that.
     
  4. Barry
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    Barry Senior Member

    what size of boat are you thinking of building using this process?
     
  5. ondarvr
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    ondarvr Senior Member

    It can be done. I sell products to customers that use 3D printers to build prototypes and tooling, Molds are made from the assembled 3D printed parts. It just depends on how big of a 3D printer you want to buy and how many parts you want to assemble to make the final product.
     
  6. malebuffy
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    malebuffy is in the house!

    I am planing to build a Riva Aquariva but in a "small" scale. In the range of 18"-22".

    I will probably start with a 4"-5" inch prototype, to see if it is worth the hassle and go larger if everzthing works OK.
     
  7. malebuffy
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    malebuffy is in the house!

    I meant feet
     
  8. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    A 3D printer can make a metal mold too. Plastics are not the only materials available.
     
  9. TANSL
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    TANSL Senior Member

    You're probably right but not all metals are suitable for building ships, only very few of them are.
     
  10. Barry
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    Barry Senior Member

    Gonzo's comment was about using a printer to make a metal MOLD not building the boat using a printer

    Malebuffy, with this system of bolted together small pieces to make a mold, there will be many interfaces between mold pieces. Is it your intent to fill each of these prior to using them as the outside surface of your fibreglassing.

    If the inside of the mold is not almost a mirror surface you could expect to see these lines in the outside of the hull
     
  11. malebuffy
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    malebuffy is in the house!

    Good point! How I am going to overcome that depends on how big or small these lines will be!

    Which brings me to my next question. What is better to do a male or female mold?
     
  12. JR-Shine
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    JR-Shine SHINE

    certainly possible, but probably much more efficient to mill the mold from foam with 5 axis CNC. I suspect the larger tooling production firms would be doing this if it were cost/time effective.
     
  13. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    Get some prices and sized of the chamber.
    Metal 3D is a very expensive machine.
    Most reasonable priced plastics machines are rather small, or expensive if large.
     
  14. malebuffy
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    malebuffy is in the house!

    Probably, but where's the fun in that? :)
     

  15. JR-Shine
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    JR-Shine SHINE

    haha :D Well, I guess if its fun your after, there are a lot of ways to do it
     
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