The University of Maine has printed the largest additive manufactured (AM) boat on the world’s largest prototype polymer 3D printer.
The University of Maine has printed the largest additive manufactured (AM) boat on the world’s largest prototype polymer 3D printer.

The University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center said that it has printed the largest additive manufactured (AM) boat on the world’s largest prototype polymer 3D printer.

The 25 ft, 5,000 lb 3D-printed boat has reportedly been tested in an offshore model testing facility equipped with a wind machine over a multidirectional wave basin.

The new 3D printer is designed to print objects of maximum 100 ft x 22 ft x 10 ft, and can print at 500 lb per hour, the university says. The prototype boat was printed in 72 hours.

The university also plans to 3D print a 5,000 lb, 21 ft long mold for a new 76 ft-long composites bridge girder.

It will also collaborate with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to develop large-scale, bio-based additive manufacturing. The US$20 million project will focus on cellulose nanofiber (CNF) production and compounding with thermoplastics, according to researchers. The Center has also reportedly received US$500,000 from the Maine Technology Institute (MTI) to develop large-scale 3D printing using wood-filled plastics for boatbuilding.

‘This is an exciting achievement in our partnership with the University of Maine,’ said Moe Khaleel, associate laboratory director for Energy and Environmental Sciences at ORNL. ‘This new equipment will accelerate application and integration of our fundamental materials science, plant genomics and manufacturing research to the development of new sustainable bioderived composites, creating economic opportunity for Maine’s forest products industry and the nation.’

This story uses material from the University of Maine, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.