Large-Scale Functional Titanic Model with 3D Printed Components Sails on Kickstarter

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The fully 3D printed 1:72 scale replica

Perhaps the most romanticized maritime disaster of our time, the sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912 was a historic event that would later be famously reanimated into a fictionalized love story between passengers Jack and Rose. The Hollywood version of the disastrous event, which was released in 1997, caused eyes to well up in theaters across the world, propelled actor Leonardo DiCaprio into heartthrob territory, and, most importantly, resuscitated international interest in one of the most momentous mishaps of the 20th century.

Earlier this year, one Sydney, Australia-based model designer named Bernard Dohnt created a 1:72 scale replica of the historic passenger liner with the use of 3D printing technology, a truly ambitious project that measured out to be 13 feet long and was comprised of over 150 fully 3D printed components. Upon completion of his Titanic model, which was accurately designed and scaled using the ship’s authentic blueprints, Dohnt came to realize that he could make this model bigger and better. And so, Dohnt has now decided to recapture the essence of the Titanic in the form of a much larger and functional 1:24 scale model.

“This one will be an 11m long model with live steam engines inside. I am planing to use different robotic methods to manufacture this one faster (and so cheaper) than the 1/72nd,” he told 3DPrint.com.

Proof of concept design for 1:24 scale model

Proof of concept design for 1:24 scale model

In order to fund his magnificent, yet pricey, hobby Dohnt decided to launch a Kickstarter to help produce his enterprising project. Although his previous smaller-scale model was fully 3D printed, the proposed 36-foot working steam-powered prototype will incorporate traditional parts, such as the wooden frame and planking, for a good portion of the model. But, that doesn’t mean that 3D printing won’t play a major role in the construction of this gigantic model. According to Dohnt, 3D printing technology is still a valuable asset to the project, and will be used for planking bulkheads and a number of other smaller detailed parts.

“I quickly realized that 3d printing would not be capable of building the whole thing like the 1/72nd model. A more traditional approach would need to be adopted, with a wooden frame and planking for the bulk of the model. However, 3d printed parts could still be implemented to exclude the need to fair the bulkheads for planking, and for construction of all smaller detail parts,” Dohnt explains on his Kickstarter campaign page.

concepSo, in order to produce the model ship’s frames and covering, Dohnt has developed and will utilize his own affordable and efficient laser cutter. The model designer has housed the project under his company BernCo Models, a manufacturer of large-scale ship models like the 1:24 Titanic replica. Just to clarify the gargantuan size of this model, it will essentially be large enough to host a driver and two additional passengers, which helps explain why Dohnt felt the need to complement 3D printing technology with his DIY style laser cutter and other traditional methods.

Functional live steam engines

Functional live steam engines

Dohnt’s Titanic model has been re-designed to include live steam engines, which he claims to be both the most affordable and authentic option available. Functioning just like the original passenger ship, the model’s interior will include three 4” boilers, two quad piston steam engines for the wing propellers, one dual piston steam engine, and even a seat for a stoker to manage and maintain the engine. Although a majority of his design is prepared, the model designer has a number of obstacles to overcome (namely weight distribution) in order to complete this replica, which is estimated to weight approximately 1.2 tons upon completion.

The recently launched Kickstarter campaign hopes to raise $20,000 AUD (a bit over $15K USD) to help complete this large-scale functional model. Dohnt is offering a wide range of reward for contributions: for instance, $100 AUD will net backers the full instruction model for the project, while $7,000 AUD will come with the fully 3D printed 1:72 scale replica, the primary inspiration for this substantially larger project. Dohnt plans to have this project completed around December 2017, but needs the help of the crowdfunding community to do so. We will certainly be rooting for the model designer, as this is one project we’d rather see sail off, rather than sink away. Discuss further over in the 3D Printed Titanic forum at 3DPB.com.

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