3D printed boat sets Guinness World Record

The largest 3D printed boat to date. Photo credit: University of Maine
The largest 3D printed boat to date. Photo credit: University of Maine

A 3D printed boat built by The University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center has received three Guinness World Records. They are as the world’s largest prototype polymer 3D printer, the largest solid 3D-printed object and the largest 3D printed boat.

The boat is 25-foot, 5,000-pounds and named 3Dirigo. The 3D printed boat took just 72 hours to complete.

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. The one-of-a-kind printer will support several initiatives, including development of biobased feedstocks using cellulose derived from wood resources, and rapid prototyping of civilian, defense and infrastructure applications.

Biobased feedstocks are recyclable and economical, providing competitive advantages for Maine’s manufacturing industries, including boat building. The University of Maine Composites Center received $500,000 from the Maine Technology Institute (MTI) to form a technology cluster to help Maine boat builders explore how large-scale 3D printing using economical, wood-filled plastics can provide the industry with a competitive advantage. By 3D printing plastics with 50 percent wood, boat molds and parts can be produced much faster and are more economical than today’s traditional methods.

A $20 million research collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the U.S. Department of Energy’s largest science and energy laboratory, will focus on cellulose nanofiber (CNF) production, drying, functionalization and compounding with thermoplastics. By placing CNF from wood into thermoplastics, bioderived recyclable material systems can be developed with properties that may rival traditional materials, possibly even metals.

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