3D Printed Boat Parts

3D Printed Boat Parts

Minor maritime spare parts


This 3d printed plastic part is 3d modeled from an existing sample bracket from a small leisure boat.
It is a reverse engineered component of a release rope and lever.
The geometries consist of curvilinear features, contours, openings, fins, supports, overhangs and steps.
Such geometries along with its dimensions is pro-active in the effective functioning of the part.
The geometries evoke the idea of a well considered part subject to iterative testing.
From initial observations it is ergonomic in its overall smoothness.
It suitably appropriates the tripartite of design – ‘firmitas, comoditas, venustas’.


3D printing probes a range of maritime sectors and is adopted by their organizations’ processes.
However, one sector that has been left behind in this adoption, is the maritime industry.
There are a string of reasons why the industry has been slow in adopting 3D printing technology.
Such reasons include the vessel size, heavy regulations, and the need for compatible materials.
Currently, we are seeing a positive trend in the industry for the adoption of 3D printing technology.


The maritime industry is also responsible for 90% of global trade.
It is a crucial cog in the trade wheel.
The industry is facing significant challenges, from regulations to aging vessels to overcapacity.
Such challenges make it necessary to revive the industry with new technologies and processes.
Thus making it more robust and profitable.
The maritime industry includes ship manufacturing, shipping companies, logistics companies, ship repair, maintenance companies, and port authorities.
All these individual entities at some level, explore the use of 3D printing.

Establishing a digital inventory


Additive manufacturing is very attractive to the maritime industry.
This is due to the ability to reproduce complex shapes out of many different materials.
Notwithstanding the use of a variety of technical approaches ie. MJF, SLS, DMLS 3d printing processes.
Additionally, there is the ability to order 3d printed boat parts on demand.
The key pre-requisite apart from the 3D printing equipment itself, is the availability of an electronic file.
However, 3d printing requires AM companies with access to a digital inventory of 3d printing files.
Expect over the coming years more than 50,000 digitized unique spare parts.


Thus, 3d printed boat parts made on demand, avoids costly storage, shipping, customs and receiving processes.
Also, a distributed supply chain of 3d printed spare parts on demand requires a digital inventory.
Developing such a library of 3D files takes effort and time.
Then, to get the exact results a different location that uses other equipment or material, it is subject to additional development work.
Eventually, you end up with several files for the same part and it expands the digital inventory size significantly.

Spare Parts and Customization


Spare parts are also currently critical.
For instance, looted scupper plugs, particularly for their brass components.
They are also expensive and they require constant replacement.
Avoiding theft by replacing 3d printed plastic scupper plugs is the advantage to note.


Hence, more complex parts and also components will doubtlessly follow eventually.
Even in those cases where the price of a 3D-printed spare part is higher than that of an original part because of higher material costs, the overall costs are likely to be lower.
Also, the added benefits of rapid availability and eco-friendliness remain.
From the manufacturer’s perspective, sending a file for an appropriate fee rather than shipping a finished part eliminates the disproportionate time.
It further eliminates the effort of retooling a manufacturing line just to make a single spare part.

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