MX3D uses WAAM to make 3D printed aluminum boat keel
Metal 3D printing solutions maker MX3D has teamed up with Dutch custom yacht builder KM Yachtbuilders to design a 3D printed aluminum keel. Measuring 4 meters (~ 13 ′) long and 8 (~ 26 ′) thick, it was manufactured by MX3D as part of its research into the impact of additive manufacturing in the maritime industry. Entirely made to measure, this keel demonstrates all the possibilities of WAAM (Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing) technology in such a demanding sector: in the long term, the objective is to certify this type of part and to offer an alternative to manufacturing methods. traditional.
You may have heard of MX3D before, it recently installed a 3D printed metal bridge in the center of Amsterdam. Since this impressive achievement, the Dutch manufacturer has also decided to use its WAAM technology in other industries, for example the maritime sector. Its website expands on this, noting: “Maritime assets are capital intensive, downtime has financial consequences, and production operations are often located in remote locations, isolated from repair facilities and spare parts storage.WAAM robotics offers relocation opportunities, and accelerates personalization, at low cost and fast printing of complex objects. At WAAM, design and assembly become an automated process, where material optimization can be achieved, while lower assembly costs become possible.
A personalized 3D printed keel
If we take the example of a keel, it is important to note that its manufacture becomes more and more complicated because experienced welders are becoming increasingly rare. In addition, traditional methods do not allow for personalization, an increasingly important need in the modern world. The keel is the lowest part of a boat, preventing it from being blown away and giving it its center of balance. KM Yachtbuilders and MX3D therefore imagined a keel 4 meters long with a diameter of 650 mm, weighing 180 kilos. Printed in 3D, it incorporates stiffeners to improve overall performance. The objective of the two partners is to obtain a Lloyd’s Register 3.2 certification which “Ensures that the metallic materials are verified and of the expected quality, guaranteeing the validity of the manufacturer and of the products supplied to the buyer”.
Ultimately, the two Dutch partners aim to be able to 3D print spare parts for any type of boat, as well as finished parts. WAAM technology may well revolutionize the way certain components are made today. While we don’t know how long it took or how much it cost, the end result of the keel is promising! You can find all of the company’s work in the maritime field HERE.
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