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3D Printing in Boat Manufacturing
Crafting boats go back to ancient times, and new manufacturing methods have come to light throughout different parts of history. Every boat can be produced uniquely from manual labor to automated machining. Boats can be built lighter with 3D printing. 3D printed boats can be manufactured without material loss, and parts can be customized. Also, parts can be easier to replace.
Tahoe Boats used 3D printing to make their first hull mold. TAHOE is a part of the White River Marine Group, the marine manufacturing arm of Bass Pro and the world's largest manufacturer of boats by volume. The boat manufacturer Tahoe worked with Thermwood Corporation and used its large scale additive manufacturing system for printing the mold for the new Tahoe T16. The T16 provides seating for up to six passengers.
Under the seats, molded, gel-coated storage facilitates easy cleaning of the compartment. Like other TAHOE boats, the T16 is equipped with a sport steering wheel, swim platforms and a four-step boarding ladder telescoping. The new T16 boat is available in 14 different color and graphics combinations. The T16 comes with either 60- or 75-horsepower Mercury outboard motor, powering speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. It will utilize an average of 2.6 gallons of fuel when loaded lightly with the 60HP. Lightly loaded with the 60HP, it will use an aggregate of 2.6 gallons of fuel per hour for about 100 miles at 4,000 RPMs. It has an average weight of 2,200 pounds, including boat, motor, and trailer.
At its demonstration Labs in Dale, Ind., Thermwood printed the tooling master pattern, where it was printed in six sections from 20 percent carbon fiber filled ABS. The joints were machined, pinned, and bonded between the pieces. Then, they machined the assembled hull to its final size. Within ten days, this process was completed. The mold was sent to the Tahoe’s parent company White River where it was sanded and finished with a proprietary coating. The mold can be built in even lesser time, approximately two days, with its new vertical layer printing, as this process eliminates machining between the sections.