Mar 21, 2018 | By Tess

Would you take to the seas in a 3D printed boat? Italian boat manufacturer Livrea Yacht is betting some people will, and is currently developing the world’s first 3D printed sailboat in partnership with German chemicals company LEHVOSS Group (and its parent company, Lehmann & Voss).

If your mind has immediately wandered to that vase you once 3D printed that leaks all over the place, don’t fret—the 3D printed sailboat won’t suffer the same fate. This is largely thanks to LEHVOSS, which has been developing specialized 3D printing materials for the sailboat since the project began in 2014.

The custom materials, called LUVOCOM 3F, have been carefully engineered for quality and durability. Not only are they based on high-performance thermoplastics such as PEEK, but they also integrate strengthening carbon fibers.

As Thiago Medeiros Araujo, LUVOCOM 3F’s Market Development Manager, said: “To achieve the required mechanical properties, these polymers are reinforced with carbon fibers. In addition, they are modified to yield an improved layer strength with no warping of the printed parts. This results in parts that are stronger, lighter, and more durable.”

Paired with an innovative direct extrusion 3D printing process developed by Palermo-based company OCORE, the materials are being used to construct the Mini 650 yacht.

In fact, it is OCORE leaders Francesco Belvisi and Daniele Cevola who are mostly behind the 3D printed boat project. Livrea Yacht, for its part, is on board to test the 3D printed vessel and evaluate the project as it moves forward. If all goes to plan, the 3D printed yacht will take to the seas for a 2019 solo transatlantic yacht race which takes sailors from France’s coast to Brazil.

“The yacht will be highly competitive thanks to the light and strong 3D printed parts,” said Belvisi, OCORE’s CTO. “3D printing dramatically reduces the build time for the yacht and also makes it more economical. We are looking forward not only to building the first 3D printed boat but also to winning the competition in 2019.”

Last year, Livrea unveiled one of the yacht’s largest 3D printed components at RAPID. Now, the Mini 650’s maiden voyage seems close, largely thanks to LEHVOSS’ customized, high-performance thermoplastics.

“We are excited to have [LEHVOSS] on board for this innovative project,” added Cevola, the managing director at OCORE. “LEHVOSS Group is a widely recognized global manufacturer of customized polymer materials. Their sponsorship, additional support, and experience with dedicated materials for our technology has helped a lot in driving our project. In addition, we now can also translate this technology to other industrial sectors for other applications.”

3D printed yacht component displayed at RAPID last year (Image credit: SABIC)

The solo transatlantic yacht race that the 3D printed ship is expected to embark on, known as the Mini Transat, spans over 4,000 miles. Experienced sailors take off from France’s west coast and journey to the Canary Islands or Madeira before setting off for the final destination of Brazil.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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