When last time we visited the 3D technology exhibition in Finland, we saw an exhibition of ancient ship models near the exhibition hall. Having a free minute with colleagues, we looked at the ships and we were fascinated by the amount of time and effort involved in manual handling of such tiny ship models. There was a thought – why not to try to make the model of the ship using 3D printing technologies and see how much time can be saved. This is how was born the idea of producing a deep sea explorer „Megaptera“.

The ship model consists of a total of 58 individual parts, which have been printed using two different 3D printing technologies –  Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) and Stereolithogra- phy (SLA). The ship hull and other large items were printed by the 2017 desktop-class world best 3D printer “Zortrax M200”. With this printer, the ship’s hull was produced quickly and accurately. More discerning readers may notice that the machine has a working area of 20 x 20 x 18 cm and a large layout of the ship would not fit in it, but we will reveal a little secret – the size of the 3D printer is not the limit for us!

Probably everyone has drawn attention to the detail of the ships – there are a lot of ac- curate and extremely important items – we’ve printed them on the most accurate 3D printing technology – SLA printing was chosen for that. Here we used liquid resins and an advanced “Form 2” printer. This technology is so precise that its application ranges from jewelry models to precision dental devices. Layer thickness in this technology even up to 25 μm!

The printing of all the necessary parts of the ship lasted a week. The finished parts were processed – glued, sanded and painted in the original colors of the ship. Some parts of the ship are moving – a rotating lifting crane for the capsule lifting overboard; rotating propellers. Processing took an extra week time. The largest parts were split and printed separately. During the post-processing, the joints were carefully melted and treated without leaving marks. ABS plastic was chosen for the sake of this project. This plastic is ideal for parts that need to be further processed after printing.

At the moment, the Megaptera ship is at the exposition of our products and fascinates our visitors. We are pleased that large format 3D printing has found usability in ship modeling and from now on we can offer our customers a fast, accurate and cheaper production method.

Models made with 3D printers are popular not only in the production of ships but also in the houses, historic buildings, frame houses, art installations, sculptures or other objects production. This is a precise, fast and inexpensive way to implement your idea.

3D printing technology: Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) and Stereolithography (SLA).

3D printing material: ABS plastic, liquid resin.

Size (mm): 600 x 150 x 250