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[All Images: SuperYacht Times]

I have to admit that I have never been yacht shopping and, so, I had imagined it to be very much like car shopping: going to a watery lot, walking among the available yachts and negotiating with a salesman to find out how far the sticker price can be dropped. And that still may be the case in some instances, however, there is an entirely different process involved in the purchase of a super yacht. These fantastic sea vessels are custom designed and are a major investment. Rather than being ready to be toured before purchase, or expecting a client to spend money on it sight unseen, it is customary for highly detailed models to be built as the design process develops.

There’s a great deal of money riding on the creation of the full sized boat; the design and development process can take years and the end models are works of art in their own right. These models can retail for around $10k and travel extensively to boat shows around the world as demonstrations of the work performed. As such, they not only provide the final vision to the client to seal the deal, they also are an investment in future clients who see the work and how it measures up to their own standards of excellence.

2016-11-modelmakers-02Despite the amount of effort required for the creation of each model, the standard turnaround time expected is only 8 weeks and there’s no room for sloppy workmanship. One tool that has recently come into the yacht model workshop is the 3D printer. Gary Isaksen, of Isaksen Scale Models in Lake Stevens, Washington, describes the impact that advanced technologies have had on the process and the turnaround time:

“When we started 30 years ago [I] carved the models using simple tools, basswood and planks to frame the hull. We then started adding foam as it was easy to shape. Everything was handmade. We used pencils to draw the decks. We cut out the windows and frames by hand. Furnishings were cut out of wood by hand. Now we have machines running and we can produce much more in a shorter time with more accuracy.”

2016-11-modelmakers-06Isaksen isn’t a lone pioneer in the model making industry. Model Maker Group in Italy has embraced the possibilities presented by 3D technologies in order to speed up the process while avoiding sacrifices in quality, as Giuseppe Capobianco of Model Maker Group explains:

“We use every type of material and technology at our disposal to create our products. We have sculpting machines as well as 3D printing devices. The hull, for instance, will be milled, for deck railings we use brass for our authentic finish, and our laser cutting machines accurately outline the teak decks of the yachts. The quality of the model is extremely important as this becomes a direct representation of the design. If the model is low quality, the project and time which has been dedicated to creating the design, can be lost…its purpose is to capture the emotion of the design and relay that experience for the client even before stepping on board.”

2016-11-modelmakers-07Just because a tool of rapid production is involved doesn’t mean that the prices of these incredible pieces are dropping in any significant way. This is, after all, a luxury market, not completely insulated from the buffeting waves of the economy, but definitely more so than many areas. So what do you do when you are already working on the most expensive luxury items around? Up the game of course. Isaksen is looking forward to working on a model that crosses the line between miniature and bejeweled sculpture:

“We want to offer a very exclusive yacht model for someone who wants the best of the best. Our next adventure is to work with a jeweler to have all the deck fittings, railings and other items created using gold and platinum.”

Truly a model fit for a king…or at least a super wealthy president-elect. Discuss in the 3D Printed Yacht forum at 3DPB.com.

[Source/Images: SuperYacht Times]

 

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