3d printing technology in boat building ?

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by gzs, Jul 23, 2018.

  1. Dejay
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    Dejay Senior Newbie

  2. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    That's what we said 20 years ago at work.
    The machines that could do what we wanted just got more expensive.
     
  3. Dejay
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    Dejay Senior Newbie

    Yeah I guess this would only get cheaper if there was a bigger market, and not just specialty business. You'd have to mass produce large things out of fiberglass that all also have a unique design. Maybe houses or parts of it. Prefabricated houses where produce precisely manufactured and "finished" pieces and then just glue them together on site.

    I mean all of this is possible and none of it HAS to be extremely expensive once the R&D is public knowledge.
     
  4. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    Everyone wants to make a profit.

    And some things just cost a lot - not always for obvious reasons.

    What valuable R&D have you given away?
     
  5. Dejay
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    Dejay Senior Newbie

  6. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    I couldn't see the page without a survey.
    And I couldn't refuse.

    too bad
     
  7. Dejay
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    Dejay Senior Newbie

  8. upchurchmr
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    Thanks for the link.
    Nice PR story, but little to no details/ technical detail.
    That's the way it always is - I guess you have to pay to play, or learn.

    If this is typical, when there are issues with the chosen approach or material shortfalls from the WPC we will never know what happened.
    How much you want to bet this just fades away within 2-5 years?
     
  9. Dejay
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    Dejay Senior Newbie

    Well it's a university. So I'd expect papers or reports written about that, or to be able to email or phone the department and ask to learn about what happened. Even if it fails, you'll have a scientific answer to what doesn't work and we can stop arguing in this thread haha ;)

    Their focus is on bioplastics and printing molds with a large 3D printer shouldn't be really difficult. My guess is it's going to be more about theoretical material costs, printing speed with the plastic maybe sustainability.
    Maybe recycling the tons of material used for making the mold and printing with it again, which would be really good. Shred all the stuff, melt it and print with it again.
    Maybe investigations about post curing with heat and suitable plastics.
    Maybe how you can design airflow channels to blow hot hair through the 3D printed mold for even heat.
    Maybe how milling or other approaches that affect the surface finish.
    Also the PLA alone might be unsuitable for a mold but with the wood fibers it might be tougher.

    So many super exiting things! :p
     
  10. KD8NPB
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    KD8NPB Junior Member

    Pretty useful for making "plugs" for small parts and small boats.

    Nothing for production use yet though.
     
  11. Dejay
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    Dejay Senior Newbie

    UMain now printed a 25 foot, 5,000-pound 3D-printed boat, named 3Dirigo.
    "The new 3D printer is designed to print objects as long as 100 feet by 22 feet wide by 10 feet high, and can print at 500 pounds per hour."



    UMaine showcases world's largest 3D printed boat and polymer 3D printer - 3D Printing Industry https://3dprintingindustry.com/news/umaine-develops-worlds-largest-3d-printed-boat-and-polymer-3d-printer-163224/

    The new 3D printer is designed to print objects as long as 100 feet by 22 feet wide by 10 feet high, and can print at 500 pounds per hour.​

    That's an impressive throughput! I'd be curious what kind of extruder they use. What is interesting is that they are looking into using wood fibers to produce better materials:

    The research will focus on cellulose nanofiber (CNF) production, drying, functionalization and compounding with thermoplastics, building on UMaine’s leadership in CNF technology and extrusion research. By placing CNF from wood into thermoplastics, bioderived recyclable material systems can be developed with properties that may rival traditional materials, possibly even metals.

    “This 3D printer is an outgrowth of research we have been doing for 15 years in combining cellulosic nano and micro fibers with thermoplastic materials,” Dagher said. “Our goal is to print with 50% wood products at 500 pounds per hour, and achieve properties similar to aluminum.​

    Wow. Without fibers this is probably rather inefficient in terms of weight needed to get enough strength for a boat. The ideal I think is continuous strands of fiberglass or carbon and you would need to be able to print in 6DOF to orient the continuous fibers like you would with fiberglass cloth layout. But using wood fibers as a more isotropic material is probably the way to go just for material costs and much easier processing. Or maybe cellulose "nano fibers" could even be better than fiberglass.

    The massive printer, with both additive and precise subtractive manufacturing capabilities, enables rapid prototyping for both defense and civilian applications.​

    So my guess is they mill the surface of the boat smooth so you don't have any "ridges".

    Better timelapse:
     
  12. upchurchmr
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    100% wood doesn't give you properties equivalent to aluminum. How is 50% wood 50% cheap plastic going to give you that?

    Impressive equipment, too bad the advertising guys wrote the BS.

    Someone help me out about the boat, why does it have those really deep sponsons/ rails on the outside of the bottom? I'm not much of a power boat guy, but I've never seen a hull like that.
    Looks like something to help stabilize the printing process, rather than something desired on a real boat.
    Wouldn't you normally connect the floor to the outer hull wall to give it better stiffness.
    This looks like a cartoon rather than a real boat.

    What would an equivalent fiberglass boat weight with no equipment?
     
  13. Yellowjacket
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    Yellowjacket Senior Member

    You're correct that the outer edges have a vertical wall that is likely cut off after the printing process is completed.

    And no it isn't going to be as strong as aluminum with wood as a fiber material. Likely they are thinking of adding glass or carbon fiber. Problem with those materials is they would create a lot more wear in the nozzle.

    And no the floors would not be attached to the side of the hull if you were going to foam the interior of the structure to increase the stiffness.

    Some plastics have a decent specific strength. Stuff like polyethylene has about half the strength to weight ratio of aluminum, but wood only has about the same specific strength as aluminum, so you can't get there from here in terms of matching the strength of aluminum. But glass fiber has about 10 times the specific strength of aluminum. So it's likely possible that by using a fiber reinforced printed part could get you there.. There are also issues with fiber orientation that means you'd have to print in different directions to get strength the way you want I.

    It's an interesting step forward, but this is simply a stunt at this point.
     
  14. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    Talking about specific strength is very misleading.
    Most boat building requires good specific stiffness with adequate strength.
    Not getting there with polyethelene.

    Why would you assume foaming the insides of the hull?
    That is a heck of a lot of extra weight, and if the foam expands when injected, you need to clamp the outsides to keep the shape.
    You also eliminate most of the equipment stowage space, from what I could see.

    Oh, also those vertical walls were present when they "floated" that cartoon.
    Agreed, this was primarily a publicity stunt.
     

  15. Dejay
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    There was a recent paper about removing lignin from wood and compressing it so you only have those "nano fibers" from the cellulose and greatly increasing the strength. I believe comparisons to metals were mentioned there too.
    So maybe it's possible to boost the strength of a composite beyond that of normal wood. Maybe if the thermoplastic / matrix is specially designed to form strong bonds with the cellulose fibers. Just speculation of course.

    While this is a bit of a publicity stunt it's not just that. It's a clear demonstration that it actually works. Printing time is not too slow and you can get smooth surfaces without printing artifacts by milling, all automated. Now it remains to be seen how economical this is, or could be long term (e.g. you have a forest nearby and can make the thermoplastic out of local material) and how efficient the resulting boat is.

    Those fins are surely support material that you'd cut off later.

    And apropos cartoon, I wish they had printed a benchy :D
     
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