Mar. 21, 2015 | By Simon

Thanks to the rapid production time for creating parts, it should come with little surprise that those that previously had an interest in creating scale model vehicles have turned to 3D printing to further customize their remote controlled vehicles.  While many people may associate remote controlled vehicles with cars or airplanes, the community of remote control boaters have been quietly navigating their floating crafts across still bodies of water.  

Mayoneko's 3D printed boat

Recently, the trend of creating 3D printed remote controlled boats and boat accessories has been taking off in Japan and although many boats come in kits, many enthusiasts have turned to creating their own boat designs from scratch on 3D printers.  

Boats such as tug boats and fire boats have become popular models of choice and according to Japanese 3D printed boat enthusiast Mayoneko's boat building blog, are sometimes created from scratch using a photograph.  Once a 3D model is created, the size of the vessel is then scaled up to house the necessary components that house the motor mechanisms - which oftentimes are 3D printed themselves.  

While many find joy in just the pure act of creating a boat that moves from A to B, some highly-invested enthusiasts go as far as recreating real life legal restrictions seen on full scale ships on their own scale models.  This could include anything from the number of life preservers necessary on a boat to particular measurements of a boat based on necessary proportions.  Additionally, some users like to test their boats in rough conditions and then modify them based on their testing.

Some users of the Japanese 3D printed boat community even go so far as to create a barge for their remote controlled 3D printed tugboats that has their tablet computers mounted in order to record their tugboats in action!  While it’s unknown why they wouldn’t use an action sports camera such as a GoPro, we’re just thankful that they managed to keep their tablet computers dry enough to offer us a first-person perspective of what it’s like to be towed behind a 3D printed tugboat.  

Among other talented 3D printed boat builders is Japanese engineer K. Morizou.

Morizou’s love for both electronics and boats has naturally led him to become quite fond of remote controlled boats and thanks to his passion and wide collection, his nephews and their friends get to join in on the fun when Morozou heads out to the pond.

Among all of the boats created by Morizou, two are very detailed and were modeled after actual PILOTS Sea Helper sea vessels that he scaled down from their original size of nearly 30 feet long.  

Starting with a provided drawing and photographs, Morozou recreated the boat using 3D modeling to create a 3D printable file at a scale of roughly 1/76 - which ultimately led to two printed boats that were approximately 4.65 inches each.  Additionally, Morizou printed propeller blades for each boat to test them for different conditions.    

While both of the 3D printed boats used the same body, one was purposed as a Fire Patrol boat that included additional components consisting of a functioning water cannon that was capable of spraying water as far as 3 meters, a radar, a life raft and an antenna.

The specifications for Morizou’s more complicated Fire Patrol boat include a length of 105 mm with a weight of 119 grams all powered by a 3.7v350mA battery and a 6-channel DSM 2 receiver that cost him roughly $5.  

Morizou's 3D printed fire Patrol boat

Of course, it’s not possible to power multiple remote controlled boats with one person, so Morizou recently took a small part of his 3D printed boat collection to a local pond where he let the neighborhood children play with them in his hometown of Tsujido, Japan.  While Morizou played with his Fire Patrol boat, the other 3D printed boat enthusiasts chose to race the various other boat models that they equipped with their own toys.  

As for what’s next for some of these 3D printed boat enthusiasts such as Morizou, designing more fully-operational accessories such as water cannons seems to be a high priority.  We’re fairly certain that rather than putting out fires on other 3D printed boats, these friendly remote controlled 3D printed boat operators simply just want to have some fun in the summertime with their water cannons and other scaled down accessories.  

But despite how much fun the adults, perhaps the most important part about the growing community of 3D printed boat enthusiasts in Japan is that they are showing tomorrow’s generation just how much fun can be had with 3D printing.  

According to Mayoneko, some of the small children have come up to him and his boat and asked him “why are you doing this?”

His simple resonse was, “just doing this because it’s fun”.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications


Maybe you also like:


Mike D wrote at 5/16/2018 12:27:21 AM:

Are the stl files for these boats available?

Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to Feeds twitter facebook   

About provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive