3D printed boats: Why this radical custom yacht is just the tip of the iceberg

Could 3D printed boats become the next big trend in boatbuilding? Vasileios Sofikitis explains all…3D printing frees up designers to create more complex shapes that aren’t constrained by the need to remove them from a hull mould. All photos: Dimitris SialiYou are at home, sitting at your desk. In front of you, on your laptop, is a bespoke 3D rendering of the boat you’ve just finished refining online. You lean back gazing admiringly at your design. The detailed online forms took you a couple of days to fill in but the result looks exactly like […] This article 3D printed boats: Why this radical custom yacht is just the tip of the iceberg appeared first on Motor Boat & Yachting.

3D printed boats: Why this radical custom yacht is just the tip of the iceberg

Could 3D printed boats become the next big trend in boatbuilding? Vasileios Sofikitis explains all…

3D printing frees up designers to create more complex shapes that aren’t constrained by the need to remove them from a hull mould. All photos: Dimitris Siali

You are at home, sitting at your desk. In front of you, on your laptop, is a bespoke 3D rendering of the boat you’ve just finished refining online. You lean back gazing admiringly at your design. The detailed online forms took you a couple of days to fill in but the result looks exactly like the boat of your dreams. OK, time to print it out.

Wait, what? It reads like a scene from a sci-fi novel but this might well be the reality of how we will all go about buying and manufacturing boats in the not too distant future. The current GRP boat building procedure is a complex, time-consuming and expensive process with limitations on the type of shape and structures that are achievable.

It usually starts by handbuilding or milling and fairing a perfect full size model from which the female moulds for the hull and deck can be created. These moulds have to be carefully aligned, reinforced and waxed before the gelcoat and multiple layers of glass matting and resin can be added.

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This then needs time to cure at a precisely controlled temperature before the hull and decks can be removed and the whole cleaning and waxing process starts again. But this won’t be the process for much longer if the latest advances in 3D printing are anything to go by.

Meet MAMBO (Motor Additive Manufacturing Boat), the world’s first 3D printed fibreglass boat. It was launched by Moi Composites at the 2020 Genoa Boat Show in October. The Italian start-up drew inspiration from the Arcidiavolo design of British power boating legend Sonny Levi.

They spent almost six months running hydrodynamic simulations on Autodesk’s cutting-edge design and simulation software to refine Levi’s multihull before settling on a final design that takes full advantage of 3D-printing’s capabilities.

3d-printed-boats-mambo-prototype-design

Software breaks the shape into printable sections

As a result, MAMBO sports some very unusual design ideas both above and below the waterline that simply wouldn’t be possible with the limitations of the moulding process (you have to be able to remove the moulding without destroying the mould).

MAMBO features a radical three-pointed hull featuring an asymmetrical deck layout and intricate organic forms that play a role in both its aesthetics and structural integrity. It measures 6.5 metres long by 2.5 metres wide and has a dry weight of just 800kg.

A relatively modest 115hp Mercury Pro XS outboard engine provides the power. The aft bench, the shape of which resembles a baby grand piano, is a reference to Mambo, the Cuban musical genre. These unorthodox design solutions not only help differentiate the boat from other craft on the water but also showcase the seemingly limitless possibilities offered by 3D-printing.

3d-printed-boats-mambo-prototype-printer

A robotic arm prints out each segment using a continuous glass fibre filament impregnated with thermo-setting resin that cures instantly

In order to print MAMBO, Moi employed an innovative, remote cloud-based workflow process that helped leverage the best talents and facilities around the world. Two separate printers, one in Moi’s headquarters in Milan and the other in Autodesk’s manufacturing facility in Birmingham, UK, jointly produced MAMBO’s components, demonstrating another advantage of 3D-printing — decentralised manufacturing.

MAMBO’s greatest innovation however, lies in its 3D printing technology. It uses a patented process known as continuous fibre manufacturing (CFM) that extrudes a continuous stream of glass fibre infused with thermosetting resin, which instantly cures under the printer’s UV lights.

This continuous glass filament creates an immensely stiff structure, resulting in a much lighter but more durable hull. The use of CFM minimises waste, enhances precision, and enables the creation of shapes that would be impossible or prohibitively expensive using traditional methods.

3d-printed-boats-mambo-prototype-printing

By repeatedly going over and over the previous layer it slowly builds up into a single finished 3D shape that is lighter, stiffer and more complex than a conventional GRP moulding

Once printed, MAMBO’s components were sent to Catmarine’s shipyard in Miggiano, Italy, for final assembly. Here the different sections were laminated together using glass fibre matting and polyester resin and painted electric blue. The deck was covered with eco-friendly cork and its seats upholstered in white leather.

MAMBO suggests that 3D printing will appear first in smaller sportsboats and day cruisers. As printers become larger and quicker though, we could start to see bigger boats manufactured in this way. 3D printing is already being adopted in other industries as an alternative to the traditional, more expensive methods of lost-wax casting or plastic moulding, especially for complex shapes and small production runs.

Many boatyards are also starting to use 3D printing for low-volume parts and rapid prototyping applications.

3d-printed-boats-mambo-prototype-cross-section

The individual sections were printed at two different facilities in the UK and Italy

Even boat owners wanting custom pieces or replacement parts that are no longer available are starting to look to 3D printing as a solution, with companies being set up to answer this demand. The Italian firm Superfici exhibited just such an example of their work at Genoa, an innovative steering wheel design prototyped on a 3D printer.

There are still some limitations to 3D printing when it comes to the size, cost and scalability of large items such as boats. The assembly of many small components and the need for post print processing pose a challenge. The variety of materials used in boat-making, such as wood and stainless steel, neither of which are yet printable, also present problems. However, projects like MAMBO prove that most of these problems will eventually be solved.

When projects like MAMBO start to lure boat builders into the realm of 3D printing and how that will coexist with the art of traditional boat building, remains to be seen. However, the recent addition of glass fibre to the repertoire of 3D printing materials is certainly going to be a boon for recreational boaters.

Designs that are currently restricted to a virtual world of CGI renderings due to the difficulty of making them using conventional moulding techniques will soon become viable, opening up a world of new possibilities and disrupting boat building as we know it. The big question now is whether we, as consumers, are ready to press print.

First published in the February 2021 issue of Motor Boat & Yachting.

This article 3D printed boats: Why this radical custom yacht is just the tip of the iceberg appeared first on Motor Boat & Yachting.

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Mercury Introduces V12 600hp Outboard

Mercury Marine's new 7.6 liter V12 600 horsepower outboard engine uses the latest technology to produce an enormous amount of power.

Mercury Introduces V12 600hp Outboard

BoatingLab Director, Randy Vance, and myself, had the opportunity to run Mercury Marine’s new 600-hp, V12 Verado outboard aboard a test fleet of six different boats at the fabled Lake X test center. These ranged from a 40-foot bowrider to a 46-foot center console to a 50-foot cruiser. Based on that on-water experience, I believe this new Mercury engine will change the landscape of large outboard boats. With dual contra-rotating propellers, a steerable gearcase, a two-speed transmission, 7.6 liters of displacement and 12 cylinders it arranged vertically, the V12-600 provides thrilling performance with smoother and quieter operation than any other large outboard engine we’ve run. From the helm, running both dockside and on open water, the V12-600 delivers a feeling of authority that is not matched by any other outboard we’ve tested.

Check out this short preview video we created, read the official press release below, and look for our complete review of the Mercury V12 Verado coming next week.

Kevin Falvey

Editor in Chief

Mercury Marine Introduces the All-New V12 600hp Verado Outboard Engine

FOND DU LAC, Wis. (Feb. 11, 2021) — Mercury Marine, a division of Brunswick Corporation (NYSE: BC), today introduced the new 7.6 liter V12 600hp Verado outboard engine. With this launch, Mercury continues to transform the high-horsepower outboard market, providing its most powerful and capable outboard, which includes several industry first features for a wide variety of applications.


Formula Boats 500SSC with four Mercury 600-hp V12 Verado Outboards (Courtesy Mercury Marine/)

“With boats continuing to grow bigger and performance expectations continuing to rise, boaters have been asking for a better, more capable high horsepower solution to meet their needs. The V12 Verado outboard is Mercury’s answer,” said Chris Drees, Mercury Marine president. “Using our advanced engineering and design capabilities, we completely redefined outboard performance. The V12 Verado outboard delivers boaters unrivaled freedom, luxury and power to pursue their passions on the water. This is a remarkable engine that will change the future of boating.”

The gearcase of the Mercury Marine V12 Verado turns...not the entire engine. This allows for a wider turning arc (45-degrees) when using Joystick and also allows the engines to be mounted closer together (27-inch on center minimum recommended mounting).
The gearcase of the Mercury Marine V12 Verado turns...not the entire engine. This allows for a wider turning arc (45-degrees) when using Joystick and also allows the engines to be mounted closer together (27-inch on center minimum recommended mounting). (Courtesy Mercury Marine/)

Groundbreaking product innovations include the following:

  • The world’s first V12 outboard, the 600hp Verado engine features a naturally aspirated, large displacement, quad cam powerhead that generates impressive torque to get heavy boats out of the hole and on plane quickly, and to accelerate up to rated speed rapidly.
  • The industry’s first two speed automatic transmission for an outboard optimizes engine rpm according to workload, facilitating powerful acceleration and highly efficient performance at cruise.
  • The industry’s first steerable gearcase on an outboard pivots independently underwater while the engine’s powerhead remains in a space saving fixed position. This provides more room for multi engine configurations and a wider steering angle for agile handling. With help from contra rotating propellers, it also has better “bite” in the water for docking and other close quarters maneuvering.
  • Several enhanced Mercury technologies work in conjunction to enable the V12 Verado outboard to deliver exceptional fuel economy and range.
The engine includes integral electric steering, is very quiet and integrates physically and via its controls and electronics to the boat in an almost seamless manner. The overall "experience" of this outboard is different than any other. It is available in shaft lengths from 20- to 35-inches.
The engine includes integral electric steering, is very quiet and integrates physically and via its controls and electronics to the boat in an almost seamless manner. The overall "experience" of this outboard is different than any other. It is available in shaft lengths from 20- to 35-inches. (Courtesy Mercury Marine/)

“The V12 Verado outboard delivers everything boaters want and more in a high-horsepower outboard. This engine makes boats easy to maneuver near the dock and provides superior handling at all speeds. It’s incredibly fuel efficient, so boaters can go farther and stay out longer. It’s so smooth and quiet that you can have a conversation while the engines are running. It’s durable, reliable and easy to maintain. There’s nothing else like the V12 Verado in the marketplace today,” Drees said.

The development of the V12 Verado outboard is a product of Mercury’s continued commitment to investing in R&D and manufacturing expansion, which includes more than $1.5 billion of investment since 2008.

The hatch in the cowl is push-to-open and reveals the oil fliter, oil fill, gearcase lube fill, diagnostic port and more service points.

The hatch in the cowl is push-to-open and reveals the oil filter, oil fill, gearcase lube fill, diagnostic port and more service points.
The hatch in the cowl is push-to-open and reveals the oil filter, oil fill, gearcase lube fill, diagnostic port and more service points. (Courtesy Mercury Marine/)

“We’ve dedicated substantial investments and years of effort toward enhancing our ability to turn highly creative ideas into practical, functional and dependable solutions,” said Tim Reid, Mercury Marine vice president of development and engineering. “That work has positioned us well to anticipate and respond to shifts in the marketplace. We listened carefully to boaters’ needs and wishes, and we created new product capabilities aimed at exceeding their highest expectations.”

The Mercury Marine V12 Verado outboard will be available this spring. For more information, visit mercurymarine.com.

About Mercury Marine

Headquartered in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Mercury Marine is the world’s leading manufacturer of recreational marine propulsion engines. A division of Brunswick Corporation (NYSE: BC), Mercury provides engines, boats, services and parts for recreational, commercial and government marine applications. The company empowers boaters with products that are easy to use, extremely reliable and backed by the most dedicated customer support in the world. Mercury’s industry‑leading brand portfolio includes Mercury outboard engines, Mercury MerCruiser sterndrive and inboard packages, Mercury propellers, Mercury inflatable boats, Mercury SmartCraft electronics, Land ‘N’ Sea marine parts distribution and Mercury and Quicksilver parts and oils. More information is available at www.MercuryMarine.com.

Source : Boating Magazine More   

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