With more than 250 federal and state officials, business executive, University of Main System Leaders, community members, and the Guinness Book of World Records looking on, the UMain Advanced Structures and Composites Center earned three Guinness World Records on October 10 for 3D printing the largest boat, largest 3D-printed object, and for using the world’s largest prototype polymer 3D printer.
By the end of the event, the team had printed a 25-foot, 5,000-pound boat, christened the 3Dirigo. The boat was subsequently tested in the Alfond W2 Ocean Engineering Laboratory.
“As we saw today, the University of Maine Composites Center does award-winning, cutting-edge research that makes Main proud and will bring jobs to our state,” said U.S. Representative Jared Golden. “Their work, the like boat and 3D printer we’re here to see, has impressive potential to change how we make things out of all sorts of materials—including Main wood fibre. Today is about three Guinness World Records, but it’s also about celebrating the innovation that will help protect and create good-paying Maine jobs in forest products and manufacturing.”
The patrol boat uses a hull form developed by Navatek, a partner with UMaine Composites Center. It took 72 hours to print. The printer represents the opportunity to quickly prototype both defense and civilian applications on a large scale. Previously, UMaine had printed out a 12-foot-long U.S. Army communications shelter.
Such shelters are rapidly deployable and could be used for concealment applications, structural shelters, and vehicle-mounted shelters with high-temperature fire-retardant materials.
“With this large printer, we will be able to accelerate innovation and prototype development in both civilian and military sectors,” explained Habib Dagher, executive director of UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center. “This 3D printer is an outgrowth of research we have been doing for 15 years in combining cellulosic nano and microfibres with thermoplastic materials.
Our goal is to print with 50 percent wood products at 500 pounds per hour, and achieve properties similar to aluminum.” With such advances, it won’t be long before construction and manufacturing could be done in your garage just by pushing a few keys.