3D printing technology has been around for a few years and hasn’t exactly taken the world by storm. But like so many other technologies, it takes time to find the sweet spots for application.
We’ve noticed a lot of activity in 3D printing of boats from making simple components to trans-Atlantic racing sailboats. Now TAHOE Boats, the marine arm of Bass Pro Shops, is launching a new boat design that using 3D printing. They will custom print the tool used to manufacture the boat’s hull. In other words, to make the mold. What’s interesting about this particular effort is that it’s targeting an affordable family boat rather than something more exotic.
The company worked with Thermwood Corp based in Indianapolis, IN. Thermwood’s Large Scale Additive Manufacturing (LSAM) system custom-printed the tool used to manufacture the boat’s hull. According to TAHOE Boats, this is the first time boat production at scale utilizes 3D printing. The company says the technology led to greater efficiency in the T16’s planning, design and construction.
Thermwood printed the master pattern for the boat hull and then printed the boat in six sections from 20% carbon fiber filled ABS. The joints between the pieces were machined, pinned and bonded together and the assembled hull was machined to final size and shape. It took only tend days to complete.