Back in January, you may recall a story we did about a 3-foot-long 3D printed model depicting the Atlantic Mercy ship. It was created by a student from LeTourneau University, named Hans Nelson, and it grabbed quite a bit of media attention. At the same time, our story inspired one man, named Bernard Dohnt to try and come up with a similar creation of his own.
“It has inspired me to form a model manufacturing business that centers around automation of the manufacturing process with 3D printers,” Dohnt tells 3DPrint.com. “Although automation through 3d printing is slow, I have tailored a suitable method that makes it more cost effective than injection or press molding due to the very low overheads required.
Dohnt decided to try and one-up the 3D printed boat that he had read about, by creating a huge 1.7 meter (5.5 foot) long radio-controlled replica of a Armidale-class patrol boat. The Armidale class boats are ships built for the Royal Australian Navy, and their design intricacies apparently piqued Dohnt’s interest.
For his large RC replica, all of the parts, except for the electronics, were entirely 3D printed on Dohnt’s 12″ Prusa 3D printers. The process took approximately 6 days of nonstop printing, at which point the parts needs to be assembled, and the body of the boat required painting.
“I use a combination of 0.4mm and 0.2mm heads in the process of making the kit,” Dohnt tells us. “Each model takes 3-6 months to develop, with intense 3d modelling, prototype testing, and various other preparations before the kit is ready to print commercially.”
While this 3d printed RC boat may seem incredible to you, Dohnt is currently working on additional ships which are even more magnificent than this one. Dohnt’s current project is for an LPA Kanimbla class RC boat which measures an incredible 2.2 meters (7.2 feet) in length. Once that is complete, he plans to even go larger, with the creation of a 3.7 meter (12.1 foot) submersible RC Titanic. That is over twice the size of the completed Armidale-class boat he has 3D printed. In order to create the huge Titanic, he will need to expand his 12″ Prusia 3D printer so that it can print with a build volume of 1 cubic meter.
Dohnt is currently selling his RC boats, which he can quickly replicate using a cold casting method, on his company’s website. This method of cold casting is able to fabricate duplicates of his large ships in much shorter time than it takes to 3D print them, while maintaining all of the intricate details.
“In the infancy of this company, I am finding myself working 12+ hours a day, 7 days a week to kick it off,” Dohnt tells us. “aIt sounds easy in theory, but is proving to be the opposite. With such a long development time for each product, it is a race against the financial clock to get a range worthy of a fully stocked model shop. I can see why this hasn’t been done yet… Although the long hours and the constant tasks on my plate, I am loving every second of it. And its that enjoyment that keeps me smashing away at it. I honestly don’t think that I would do anything else again.”
The Armidale-class Patrol Boat can be purchased on his website for just $890.00. Not a bad price considering all the work that went into its creation. Coming soon will be the aforementioned Kanimbla Class LPA for $1,210.50 in October, the Titanic (Olympic Class Liner) for $1,470 in the coming months, and a smaller Smit Ocean Supertug for $690 in September. All of these were 3D printed, although the replicas that are sold are cold casted models of the prints. All of these ships are “radio control ready”.
Check out the video of the Armidale boat in action below.