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3D-printing of spare parts

Oded

New Member
Hi everyone! Happy New Year!
I was wondering, does anyone use 3D-printing for their boat? Maybe to make customized spare parts? Which printer so you use and which materials? I saw some printers for composites but they are quite expensive...
 

US 1214

Member
Hi everyone! Happy New Year!
I was wondering, does anyone use 3D-printing for their boat? Maybe to make customized spare parts? Which printer so you use and which materials? I saw some printers for composites but they are quite expensive...
3D-Printing is good for making the core or molds for fiberglass parts. Though I haven’t made parts specifically for a boat this way, it certainly can be done.

In the 150-250 price range you’ll find printers with an 8”x8” build area that print variantions of PLA and ABS (and maybe other materials like TPU). Anything larger, I usually design parts to be assembled in sections and epoxy together. Once you have a part or “spare” printed, glass over it with epoxy and several different grades of fiberglass. This is the “core” method. You could also try making a mold where the part you print is the outside (or inside) of the part you want to replicate. Glass this, then remove the printed part. There are compounds out the to make removing parts from molds easier, and you should be able to reuse your mold. (PLA, ABS do not weather well, especially in heat and UV).

The only parts that I’ve considered printing are capture points for stainless hex nuts for mounting fittings to a hull. The idea was to print a holder for a hex nut *behind the my on the inside of the hull, then glass around it. Not supper practical, but I getting ready to do 24 of these so it might save time... Other than that, I haven’t found a practical use for printed parts.

Oh by the way, I’m talking about servicing a small sailing dingy. Hopefully something here is relevant :rolleyes:
 

westponka

New Member
3D-Printing is good for making the core or molds for fiberglass parts. Though I haven’t made parts specifically for a boat this way, it certainly can be done.

In the 150-250 price range you’ll find printers with an 8”x8” build area that print variantions of PLA and ABS (and maybe other materials like TPU). Anything larger, I usually design parts to be assembled in sections and epoxy together. Once you have a part or “spare” printed, glass over it with epoxy and several different grades of fiberglass. This is the “core” method. You could also try making a mold where the part you print is the outside (or inside) of the part you want to replicate. Glass this, then remove the printed part. There are compounds out the to make removing parts from molds easier, and you should be able to reuse your mold. (PLA, ABS do not weather well, especially in heat and UV).

The only parts that I’ve considered printing are capture points for stainless hex nuts for mounting fittings to a hull. The idea was to print a holder for a hex nut *behind the my on the inside of the hull, then glass around it. Not supper practical, but I getting ready to do 24 of these so it might save time... Other than that, I haven’t found a practical use for printed parts.

Oh by the way, I’m talking about servicing a small sailing dingy. Hopefully something here is relevant :rolleyes:
thanks for sharing!
 

Maxxxx

New Member
If you need something specific let me know I have a printer and have made a lot of different projects and things on it. I needed a new cleat for an old boat the (original plastic one broke) and was able to match up the holes exactly. Shipping wouldn't be too bad since the plactic parts are so light. I have PLA and some ABS but have found PLA works best in most situations.
 

ProATC

Member
Do you think it is possible to replicate this part: End Casting for the Laser Aluminum Tiller ??? If the link doesn't work, it would be the End Casting for the Laser Aluminum Tiller piece. My goal would be to have this made by the 3D printer to be made in plastic so I can modify the flange to fit a different size carbon rod. The one for sale is metal (aluminum). I am thinking the 4 or 5 layers would be strong enough for the loads. I would be happy to compensate.
 

Maxxxx

New Member
For a part like that I would be worried about the strength of the plastic. I could definitely 3D print a shim to go inside the aluminum and outside the carbon fiber rod. So you could get the correct fit but the whole piece would eventually fail as the plastic becomes brittle over time with exposure to the sun.
 
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