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3D Printing and Sailing

3D Printing and Sailing

Sailing is a fun and rigorous pastime, with an enthusiastic global following. Sailors are always looking for new pieces of equipment and innovative techniques to improve the performance of their boats. In light of the fashion industry’s adoption of 3D technology, it makes sense that the sailing world would see the appeal.

The past five years have seen some very interesting developments in this regard. It’s been a familiar story, sailing has seen 3D printing as a curious novelty, and then realising the incredible opportunity and almost limitless applications of the technology. The power to manufacture new designs has been particularly alluring.

Printed boats

Writing in ALL3DP, Hannah Watkins explains the process that went into producing the world’s first 10 metre long 3D printed yacht:

“HanseYachts AG, founded in 1990, are one of the largest manufacturers of sail yachts in the world who use innovative construction methods for their yachts. To create their newest yacht, the Hanse 3D15, with a 3D printed 10-meter hull the German company has been working with VBS-print. This idea has taken months of both planning and development and now, after the construction of a 20-meter long printer they can begin printing their first prototype.”

The sailing industry is going full steam ahead with 3D printing. Designed by Livrea Yacht, the 3D printed Livrea 26 will be used to cross the Atlantic ocean. The two founders of the company, Daniele Cevola and Francesco Belvisi, put the idea forward in 2014. Since then they have worked with prototypes, experimented day and night and finally produced their 3D printed yacht in 2017. It will be fascinating to see just how tough this yacht will prove to be.

Democratising the Industry

One of the key benefits of 3D printing its democratising effect. With a 3D printer and the right knowledge and materials, ordinary people can get creating and making almost anything they can think of.

This is also being seen in the sailing industry, with ordinary 3D printer owners creating their own materials for sailing. Andy Maw has been designing and inventing sailing equipment using 3D printing for over five years. From initially producing crude copies of sailing tools from large companies and producers, he is now a sought-after producer of high-quality equipment.

The QR Trapeze Loop, for example, improves upon current trapeze loop systems used on sailing dinghies, which allows for a quick release under pressure. Andy’s Tiller Extension Fitting is again an exceptional improvement to a current design and stops the sheeting getting caught on the tiller. The sailing industry has been one of the less highlighted areas of the 3D printing community, yet it has become a major user of this technology.

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