Credit: University of Maine
By The Maritime Executive 2019-10-15 17:58:49
The University of Maine's Advanced Structures and Composites Center receive three Guinness World Records on October 10 for the world’s largest prototype polymer 3D printer, the largest solid 3D-printed object and the largest 3D-printed boat.
The boat is 25-foot, 5,000-pounds and named 3Dirigo. She was 3D printed in 72 hours.
The new 3D printer is designed to print objects as long as 100 feet by 22 feet wide by 10 feet high, and can print at 500 pounds per hour. The one-of-a-kind printer will support several initiatives, including development of biobased feedstocks using cellulose derived from wood resources, and rapid prototyping of civilian, defense and infrastructure applications.
Biobased feedstocks are recyclable and economical, providing competitive advantages for Maine’s manufacturing industries, including boat building. The University of Maine Composites Center received $500,000 from the Maine Technology Institute (MTI) to form a technology cluster to help Maine boat builders explore how large-scale 3D printing using economical, wood-filled plastics can provide the industry with a competitive advantage. By 3D printing plastics with 50 percent wood, boat molds and parts can be produced much faster and are more economical than today’s traditional methods.
A $20 million research collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the U.S. Department of Energy’s largest science and energy laboratory, will focus on cellulose nanofiber (CNF) production, drying, functionalization and compounding with thermoplastics. By placing CNF from wood into thermoplastics, bioderived recyclable material systems can be developed with properties that may rival traditional materials, possibly even metals.
The University also showcased a 3D-printed, 12-foot-long U.S. Army communications shelter. Other uses include concealment applications, structural shelters and high-temperature fire retardant materials for vehicle-mounted shelters.
Working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the 3D printer will further advance innovations in rapidly deployable, low-logistics infrastructure systems. That includes a 5,000-pound, 21-foot-long 3D-printed mold for a new 76-foot-long composites bridge girder. The girder has been licensed to a University of Maine spinoff company, Advanced Infrastructure Technology, that is in the process of fabricating girders for a bridge to be constructed in Hampden, Maine, in summer 2020. In addition, rapid production of stay-in-place concrete formwork is a potential solution for both infrastructure and coastal resiliency construction applications.