3D printing and rapid prototyping are making it big in the industrial hub as traditional production methods are making way for these two new technologies. Largely by dint of the time and money saved, rapid prototyping is becoming the production method of choice for many industries including aerospace, maritime and even medical industries. Independent hobbyists too have been amazed by what rapid prototyping can do for their whimsical endeavors. One such amazing new feat in the rapid prototyping scene is a fully functional, large scale model of the famous Titanic, already making waves as a Kickstarter project.
The capsizing of RMS Titanic is perhaps going to remain the most iconic and romanticized maritime disaster of all time. The Titanic, then the largest marine vessel in the world, set sail for the first and last time in 1912, creating a tragedy that shook the world. Almost everyone has watched the famous Hollywood recreation of the story, in a more romantic light, which was released in 1997. This movie newly garnered interest of the general public about the tragedy of the Titanic.
At the beginning of the year, Bernard Dohnt, a model designer based in Australia created a replica of the iconic passenger liner Titanic. This model has a scale of 1:72 and has made use of 3D printing technology. In fact, the model is thirteen feet long and was fitted with one hundred and fifty components straight out of the 3D printer- making it a wonderfully ambitious project. Dohnt accurately scaled and designed this smaller model using the original blueprints of the Titanic. However, he realized that the model could be made larger and more accurate. Hence, Dohnt is now set to recreate the essence of the Titanic as a much larger model of 1:24 scale, that too a fully functional one.
Dohnt stated that this model will be around eleven meters long with actual steam engines fitted inside. Various robotic methods will be employed in order to manufacture this new model faster and hence cheaper than the previous one.
As this is a rather ambitious, magnificent and costly project; the model designer took to Kickstarter in order to help fund and produce this one of a kind piece. Even though the smaller model was fully printed with the help of 3D printers, the new thirty six feet fully functional prototype will be a steam powered one. It will have traditional parts such as the wooden planking and frame for a sizeable portion of the model. However, it does not mean that the designer would totally rule rapid prototyping out of the equation. The construction of this enormous model will rely heavily on 3D printing in order to make some important parts. Dohnt said that rapid prototyping will be a valuable asset to the completion of the project. The technology will be used in order to build planking bulkheads and various other small, intricate parts.
The designer realized quickly that small scale rapid prototyping would not be able to build the entire thing from scratch like the 1/72nd smaller model. Hence a more traditional approach had to be adopted with wooden planking and frame for the model’s bulk. However, in order to create smaller parts and fair the bulkheads for planking, 3D printed parts are a rather viable option. Dohnt explains all of this on the campaign page of Kickstarter.
In order to manufacture the frames and covering of the ship model, Dohnt has constructed his own version of an efficient and affordable laser cutter. This will be the device he utilizes to create the larger model. The project was completed under the designer’s company- BernCo Models. They are manufacturers of large ship models that are scaled at 1:24 like the Titanic model to be built. To give an idea of the relative size of the model, it will be just large enough to seat a driver and two passengers. This is the reason why Dohnt is using a DIY laser cutter and other traditional methods in addition to using 3D printing and rapid prototyping technology.
The tentative model of Titanic to be built by Dohnt is going to be a redesigned version having live steam engines- which happen to be the more authentic and affordable options that are available. There will be three boilers four inches each, one dual piston steam engine, for the wig propellers two quad piston steam engines and a seat for a stoker who would maintain and manage the engine. Even though the major portion of his design has already been prepared, there are a number of obstacles that the designer has to deal with. One of them is weight distribution of such a large model. The estimated weight of the model is going to be around 1.2 after completion.
As for the amount that the Kickstarter campaign aspires to raise, it is around twenty thousand Australian dollars or about a bit over $15,000 USD. Dohnt is also offering some lucrative rewards for monetary contributions such as giving a full instruction model of the project to $100 AUD net backers. For $7,000 AUD contributors will come with full 3D printed 1:72 replica. In order to complete his amazing project by December 2017, the crowd funding community needs to come forward.
The world of rapid prototyping is definitely eager for this ship to sail.
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