For the love of boats
3D printing has already been used in places where we didn’t expect it. Recently we received a question from Whaleboat. Or: even in the roughest weather conditions, 3D printing solutions can make the difference.
Whaleboat is a boat building atelier in Aalter that specializes in building high-end ocean rowboats. The entire process, from idea to design to construction of the boat, is done in-house, allowing them full control over the high quality requirements. Creativity, innovation, safety and sustainability are the core values of Whaleboat.
When building an (ocean) rowboat Whaleboat uses vacuum infusion and carbon fiber/sandwich laminate. In addition, 3D printing was also used in the renewed O28 ocean rowboat.
Whaleboat opted for the technique of 3D printing because it:
- provides fast results,
- can be the ideal mock-up to fit into the boat in full size,
- it can be used as a full test piece,
- it becomes much cheaper to produce for a one off piece.
It also helped that one of the volunteers has an FFF 3D printer at home on which she could make mock-ups and prototypes.
The printed material must be able to withstand high temperatures – after all, it can get more than 50 degrees Celsius in the cabins – but also bright UV light and salty seawater. Because of the danger of electrolysis, the printed material should not make an electrical connection with the carbon, something to which traditional materials such as aluminum and stainless steel are extremely sensitive.
The locks of all shutters were printed in PA12. Because Whaleboat designed its own locks, the shutters are larger in surface area than standard shutters. This provides extra comfort on board because material can easily be loaded and unloaded from the storage areas.
A second part of the new O28 that was printed was the foot rudder. An unique invention within ocean rowing. The technique was first applied to the prototype of the O28 but has now been improved and adapted. For the parts of the foot rudder a professionalized test piece from PA12, and a backup out of ASA were chosen.