The world’s largest 3D printer has created the world’s largest 3D printed boat in just three days (72 hours). Tested in the water, this boat can sail the sea very well.
Created by University of Maine, at the Advanced Structures & Composite Center on campus, the boat is 7.6 meters long (weighing 2.2 tons) and is called 3Dirigo, a game on the motto of Maine, “Dirigo”, which in Latin means “I drive”: with spans, the cost for the construction was about 40,000 dollars.
The printer, on the other hand, is currently over 20 metres long and will grow to 30 metres thanks to an extension: it can “swallow” 226 kilos of plastic polymer pellets per hour, and in the future, according to the university technicians, it will be able to do much better. It cost 2.5 million dollars, mostly provided by the American army.
A $20 million research collaboration with the Oak Ridge laboratory in Tennessee will then focus on using bio-based thermoplastics reinforced with cellulose-based materials to create a strong, durable and recyclable 3D printable material. If everything works as planned, the printer will be able to quickly produce fully recyclable boat moulds and accessories.