Scandinavians shouldn’t mind that we often stereotype them not only as having fabulous societies full of beautiful people but also as being the creators of sleek, streamlined designs. From furniture to wickedly awesome winter apparel, they are known for quality in making things. So, it’s no surprise that even Norwegian oil explorers realized the potential in 3D printing when desiring to commission a replica of one of their oil rig designs–seeking out their European neighbors in the UK for help by way of 3T RPD, a company known for its work in plastics and 3D printing throughout the continent.
Employing every benefit of 3D printing, the design works as a demonstration of the detail, customization, and quality afforded by digital design and 3D printing technology. The commission was requested by Norwegian company Det Norske, regarding a 1:100 scale model of the Ivar Aasen oil rig platform. The piece was made to sit as the centerpiece at the Offshore Northern Seas 2014 annual show held in Stavangar, Norway.
Due to a deadline, budget, and detail required, the Norwegian company knew exactly what they wanted, and also knew it could not be created without 3D printing. Those in charge of the project estimated that it would have taken over a year to produce this as a traditional model, with an exponential amount of extra dollars added to the project as well.
The design is spectacular and almost delicate due to the level of detail involved. Using a nylon sintering 3D printing process after working with the original CAD files which were originally part of one complete design provided to them by their client, 3D specialists broke the work into eight pieces for assembly upon completion of 3D printing. This was necessary to fit the parts into their P390 sintering machines.
“As the periphery pieces such as the cranes, lifeboats, heli-deck and mast structures were built as separate add-ons, they had to have additional pins added to the CAD design so that they could be assembled at the show in Norway,” stated the 3T team. “In total, 3T’s in-house teams spent in excess of 40 hours modifying the CAD design and carrying out the post-assembly work.”
It only takes one look at the images to see they made the most of every moment–and each was well worth it. Featuring the tall, vertical leg structure (also known as the jacket) as well as the platform desk, the 3T designers also constructed a 3D printed helideck and control room.
Standing over eight feet tall and currently on display at Det Norske headquarters in Trondheim in their reception area, the model is fascinating in its fine details, even in the smallest parts like railings and anodes.
The actual rig will be in use for drilling in the North Sea for the next four years, and is expected to produce its first load of oil in late 2016. Its jacket is being installed this year, with the platform deck being installed in the first half of 2016. The rig weighs around 15,000 tons in real life, covering 3,300 square meters, and holding 70 single cabins.
An exploration and production company founded with the simple mission of ‘exploiting young petroleum resources’ on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, Det Norske is ambitious and dynamic as they plan to create one of the largest European entities of its kind. With numerous large projects and partnerships, they are ambitious explorers planning only to continue forging ahead. Their headquarters are located in Trondheim, with branch offices in Stavanger, Oslo and Harstad.
Discuss this latest 3D printing project in the Norwegian Oil Rig Ivar Aasen forum thread over at 3DPB.com.