Jul 14, 2017 | By David

We’ve reported before on the increasing use of 3D printing in the world of sailing, as the technology is being implemented more and more to allow the most cutting-edge yacht designs. This trend is set to continue in the years to come, and a recent presentation given by a leading naval architect at the Superyacht Design Symposium suggests that 3D printing technology could be capable of producing an entire yacht by the year 2030.

Photo: Gregory C. Marshall Naval Architect

The annual Superyacht Design Symposium was held in February this year, at the prestigious Kitzbuhel ski resort in Austria. British double Olympic gold medal-winning sailor Shirley Robertson was one of the guest speakers, as was Canadian naval architect Greg Marshall. Marshall outlined the future of 3D printing in yacht-building in his speech, informing attendees of the huge range of advantages the technology has over other manufacturing methods.

According to Marshall, waste reduction is one of the key factors that 3D printing technology brings with it, and it will contribute to the technology disrupting the yacht manufacturing industry in a significant way. “Additive manufacturing is changing the playing field’’, he says.  ‘’In the very near future, we will be using it to build superior yachts that have significant material reductions and much smaller carbon footprints...’’

Whereas conventional ship-building methods lead to between 15 and 20 percent of raw materials going to waste, 3D printing technology’s streamlining of the manufacturing process will cut this figure down to as little as 2 percent. Not only is this a major saving in terms of outlay for materials, but it will also cut down on labour costs. These savings will allow for improved efficiency, better quality builds and the increased feasibility of more advanced, elaborate designs.

He believes that the yachts of the future will likely be 3D printed from titanium, a material with significant benefits compared to steel, which has been traditionally used for the major ship components. Titanium is much more lightweight than steel, which means that the same amount of power will be capable of achieving much higher boat speeds. It also has a melting point 300 degrees higher than steel, offering hugely improved fire protection. Ship interiors could be 3D printed from titanium and then later covered with wood veneers and stone work. Maintenance of yachts would also be a lot easier with titanium, as it is far less likely to corrode and is a bio-compatible material, which means it can also be used in human prosthetic implants.

Late 2017 should see the completion of an industrial-scale 3D printer for producing large yacht parts, and an even larger one is expected by 2020. Marshall believes that by the mid 20’s the yacht industry will be printing entire six-meter (19.6 feet) yacht tenders in one step: “We picture by 2030 we’ll probably be fairly close to 3D printing full-scale metal structures on boats and interiors will come after that,” he said.

The 3D printing process can build a finished project more or less directly from the initial design stage. This drastic shortening of production time means that a 45-meter yacht, which would previously take between two to three years to finish, could soon be completed in as little as 90 days.

Marshall’s predictions are undoubtedly exciting news for potential and existing sailing enthusiasts everywhere, and the implementation of innovative 3D printing technology will ensure that it continues to be plain sailing for the next generation of yacht owners.



Posted in 3D Printing Application


Source: Digital Trends

Maybe you also like:


Richard wrote at 7/26/2017 5:09:11 PM:

One place where yacht designers can already make use of 3D printing is in making models for tank testing. Are they doing that? I don’t think so. Years ago, before 3D printing, I made models for tank testing. I am an amateur boat designer just for my own use. Because of the length of time needed for each model, I made only a few. I made them specifically to answer some theoretical questions, not as any particular design to be built. The results from the experiments contradicted the theory I’d been taught from professional yacht designers. Using some, not all, of the lessons learned from the model testing, I made a tiny rowboat out of one sheet of plywood and a few boards. I showed the design to some professional designers, and they panned it. “It will be slow” “It will be unstable” they asserted. I built it, then took it out in somewhat rough waters. It was surprisingly stable, more stable than many boats many times its size in the same conditions. Under oar power alone, I was easily able to exceed theoretical hull speed, contradicting both theory and the mathematical formulae yacht designers use to calculate boat speed. Yet years later, I see professional yacht designers still making claims based on their theories and mathematical models that my experiments disproved. I expected that with their greater resources and expertise, they long ago would have exceeded my experimental results, but they haven’t. If there are any professional boat designers reading this, get out your 3D printers, do the tests that I couldn’t do, you can make complex models that I could only dream about back then. You can test all sorts of permutations that were beyond my resources back then. Then let’s see the results that you come up with.

Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to

3ders.org Feeds 3ders.org twitter 3ders.org facebook   

About 3Ders.org

3Ders.org 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