‘Big deal’: Big 3D printer makes big 3D-printed boat
The world’s largest 3D printer has created the world’s largest 3D-printed boat. And the University of Maine has demonstrated that it’s seaworthy.
The university unveiled the 25foot, 5,000-pound boat that was printed at the university’s Advanced Structures & Composite Center. It’s an example of how the massive printer can create larger prototypes to assist companies in product development, said Habib Dagher, founding director of the composites center.
“This new printer is going to allow us to innovate so much faster by having prototypes made faster than in the past,” Dagher said.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, christened the boat by smashing a bottle of Champagne on its bow at the event Thursday in Orono. Later, she and Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, climbed aboard for a demonstration in the university’s W2 Wave-Wind basin “ocean simulator,” which looks like a giant indoor swimming pool.
The boat is named 3Dirigo, a play on Maine’s motto, which is Latin for “I lead.”
The printer, also unveiled, is 70 feet long and will grow to 100 feet with an extension, Dagher said. The university and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee are collaborating on the printer project.
“This a big deal. This is probably the biggest day for this university since Stephen King matriculated in 1965,” King joked, referencing the best-selling author who graduated from the school.
The 3D printer, which can gobble up 500 pounds of plastic polymer pellets per hour, is proving useful as demonstrated by the patrol boat.
The printer cost $2.5 million with additional funding going toward installation, commissioning and material testing, with most of the funding provided by the Army.
A polymer 3D printer created the 25-foot, 5,000-pound boat, which was unveiled Wednesday in Orono, Maine.