For people living in America, at least those living by the coast, we are used to seeing boats, yachts and ships on a rather frequent basis. Myself, I grew up by the ocean so I’ve probably seen and even been on just about every type of boat there is. At least it seems that way.
For one student named Radek Barvíř, living in the Czech Republic, which is a country in Central Europe with no seas or ships, 3D printing allowed him to bring various ships to life in the form of 3D printed models.
“I got in touch with 3D printing at school, it was about one year ago,” Radek tells us. “During [my] studies, I was working for a month in Prusa Research company (probably the most well known Czech company where low-cost 3D printers are invented and manufactured) to get some practice. And now it is one of my best hobbies next to cycling, hiking and traveling by different means of transport.”
He first used 3D printing at school as part of his Bachelor’s thesis in which he created 3D printed terrain and surface models of various mountains, quarries, cities and more. Once finished with that though, his father asked him why he doesn’t use the technology that 3D printing provides to create something useful such as a ship or other sort of boat.
“I answered that these terrain models are, and they really could be useful, but then I finished my thesis and had a bit of time, so I prepared the first ship – a cargo ship because I like transport and everything around it including ships and boats,” Radek tells us. “It was the first version with several mistakes, which I repaired over time.”
Radek now has completed the 5th version of that initial model, and has also designed and 3D printed two other models as well. To design these detailed boats, he uses SketchUp 8 with some extensions that allow for exploring STL files. He starts out with a basic shape for the boats, and then gradually adds more and more detail. Once a general model is finished, he prints it out and tests it in his bathtub to make sure it has the ability to float. Sometimes if the walls are too thick, or the ship is too heavy for one reason or another, it is back to the drawing board for Radek, to make sure that the boats don’t only look good, but they can float as well.
So far Radek has designed and printed three different boats, all of which he has made the design files available to download from Thingiverse. They include the RS3: Research Ship, RS2: Ferry, and RS1: Cargo Ship. He plans to release several more in the future as well, as part of his ever-growing ship collection. He hopes to have a design for a tugboat as well as some historical ships created sometime in the near future.
“The ships I’ve made have no real pattern,” Radek tells us. “I made them up. I just started with designing and during the process I imagined what to place here and there. In the past I used to play the Ship Simulator game for a while, so maybe I have some ship shapes in my memory.”
Regardless, if you take a look at the details which are seen in each ship, they are really quite fascinating. What do you think about Radek’s 3D printable ships? Have you downloaded and printed any yourself? Discuss in the 3D Printed Ships forum thread on 3DPB.com.