3DP Applications

Introducing CUDA: the 3D printed underwater jetpack

Archie O’Brien is a design student at Loughborough University. For his final project, in collaboration with service bureau 3D Hubs, O’Brien has applied 3D printing to the creation of a novel, patent-pending jetpack for underwater exploration. Look out Aquaman…

How it’s made

O’Brien’s smooth underwater jetpack is called CUDA, and was created in response to heavy and expensive gadgets like the SeaBob, “The world’s fastest underwater scooter,” with a price tag around $17,000.

CUDA color prototypes. Photo via 3D Hubs/Archie O'Brien
CUDA color prototypes. Photo via 3D Hubs/Archie O’Brien

Currently a functional prototype, CUDA is assembled from approximately 45 3D printed parts, the majority of which were made out of PLA plastic on an FDM 3D printer.

The impeller, crucial to pumping water and propelling the wearer forward, was 3D printed through 3D Hubs using SLS technology and a carbon-fiber reinforced polymer for extra strength.

Sneaky peak of the SLS 3D printed impeller. Photo via 3D Hubs/Archie O'Brien
Sneaky peak of the SLS 3D printed impeller. Photo via 3D Hubs/Archie O’Brien

For full water-proofing, CUDA parts are coated with a thin layer of epoxy resin, and seals on the doors for easy access to batteries are made from silicone.

Jetting to market in 2019

For this project, O’Brien invented his own jet propulsion system specially adapted for use in a backpack-like arrangement, and has filed a patent for its design.

So far, CUDA has undergone rudimentary trials to test its market viability. The 3D printed parts retained durability after months submerged in icy waters. O’Brien himself has also become a master of its control, taking CUDA on swimming pool and open water tests.

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Via 3D Hubs

As far as commercial availability goes, O’Brien is optimistic that he will be able to launch production units in the second quarter of 2019, with sights set on becoming a market leader in recreational water sports.

Archie O'Brien wears a prototype CUDA. Photo via 3D Hubs
Archie O’Brien wears a prototype CUDA. Photo via 3D Hubs

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Featured image shows CUDA the 3D printed underwater jetpack, chilling on a dune. Photo via 3D Hubs/Archie O’Brien

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