Karver offers free self-printing deck fittings

No manufacturing process develops as fast as 3D printing. So it’s no surprise that this technology is no longer used solely for the production of prototypes. For example, hardware manufacturer UBI Major produces parts of its roller systems and bearing cages for return blocks using a 3D printing process. Karver, the lightweight construction specialist, goes one step further. The French not only use this technology themselves, but now even offer selected fittings as a data set that you can print yourself, click here. Currently, the offer includes fairly simple elements, such as guide eyelets, cleats of various sizes or wedges for curry clamps. However, there is also a data set for a ball bearing block with a working load of at least 300 kilograms. “We want to give our customers the ability to print simple parts themselves, if required,” says Managing Director of Tanguy de Larminat. In agreement with dealers and shipyards, the range is to be further expanded in the future.

Screenshot

Screenshot

Data is currently available for six luminaires, but the service is to be expanded

Colligo Marine has already applied a similar approach a few years ago and presented the relevant prototypes at the MET in Amsterdam, see here. However, the high-strength materials used at the time could only be processed on industrial printers, so the Americans did not continue this system. Due to their shape and material specifications, Karver blocks should not be so easy to print, at least for FDM devices accessible to private users. The acronym stands for Fused Deposition Modeling and describes the simplest process to print plastic parts. Depending on the design of the printer, various thermoplastics such as PLA, PETG, ABS, nylon or rubber-like TPU can be processed. The cheapest printers with this technology cost around 300 euros. If you feel like experimenting, you can use it to make extremely practical boat parts. We tried how it works and what problems appear on YACHT 17/2022.

This becomes more complex when metals are to be processed and so-called selective laser melting is usually used. During this process, the laser burns the contour of the element into a thin layer of metal powder, which melts the material. This creates a solid workpiece layer by layer. One application is special fittings for single buildings or renovations. “For the new 60-meter mast of the classic Varuna, we had an upper fitting that was printed from aluminum. This allowed us to construct undercuts and reduce weight, ”says Michael Kraske of Werner Kluge, a mechanical engineering company in Kiel. As there is now a whole range of service providers, the technology can in principle even be used by hobbyist designers.

Intelligent engineering

Intelligent engineering

The masthead for the renovation of the 60-meter classic “Varuna” was printed from aluminum

Much larger metal parts can be produced using Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM). A modified industrial robot places one welding seam after another, thus creating a workpiece. The size is only limited by the radius of the robot arm. In addition, any weldable metal can be processed. An impressive example of use in yacht building is an aluminum keel bomb, approximately 4.50 meters long, printed by the Dutch printer manufacturer MX3D and KM Yachtbuilders. “For our small series and individual designs, the production of lead ballast molds is not profitable. That’s why we produce aluminum housings that we pour lead into, ”explains KM’s Rene Feenstra. “But it’s getting harder and harder to find welders for aluminum, so the pressure suggestion suited us,” says Feenstra.

MX3D

MX3D

Printed by KM Yachtbuilders and the printer manufacturer MX3D, the aluminum keel bomb is hollow and full length 4.5 meters. It is filled with lead

A detailed article on the current state of 3D printing technology and its application in boat building can be found in YACHT 17/2022

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