The ship 3Dirigo this is how the largest 3D printed object was built
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The ship ‘3Dirigo’: this is how the largest 3D printed object was built

The University of Maine presents a printer capable of manufacturing objects over 30 meters long at a rate of 227 kg / h

Last October 10, the University of Maine received three Guinness records at a stroke: the largest 3D printer, the largest solid object ever built in 3D and the largest ship printed with this technique.

In the following video in fast camera the construction of the boat is summarized in little more than half a minute. Actually, it took 72 hours (from September 19 to 22) to create it completely in one piece. Booted as 3Dirigo and built with carbon and plastic fibers, it has 7.62 meters in length and a displacement of 2,267 kilograms . After removing the canvas that covered it during the presentation, the ship, whose hull was designed by Navatek, was placed in a water tank to demonstrate its buoyancy.

The printer, manufactured by Ingersoll Machine Tools, can print objects up to 30.5 meters long by 6.7 wide and three high at a rate, layer by layer, of 227 kilograms per hour .

“This 3D printer is a result of the research we have been doing for 15 years to combine cellulose nanofibers and microfibers with thermoplastic materials,” said Habib Dagher , executive director of the UMaine Center for Advanced Structures and Composites. “Our goal is to print with 50% of wood products at 500 pounds per hour (227 kg / h) and achieve properties similar to aluminum,” he added.

Beyond nautical, the UMaine plans to use the printer for different sectors, always focused on the development of raw materials of biological origin , using pulp derived from wood. However, Maine is the most forested state in the United States, which makes this project one of the most important innovation initiatives for the area. Therefore, the project has a budget of 20 million dollars for its implementation. and another 20 million are already on their way to continue the development of the machine. The research is supported by the US Department of Energy, among other institutions and organizations.

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The university is also collaborating with a US military program to manufacture drop-down shelters for soldiers or high-temperature flame retardant materials for armored vehicles .

Returning offshore, the 3Dirigo patrol boat is a milestone for the nautical industry. Before its manufacture, other projects to print boats had already emerged, although they work on the construction of different parts before assembling them. One of the best known projects is that of the Italian company Ocore . His goal was for his prototype, presented at the end of 2018, to compete in the Transatlantic Mini Transat regatta . However, the final tests on the water were delayed more than expected and the information on how the project was evolving was diluted over time. Finally, the Ocore ship did not take the starting line.

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