The University of Maine (UMaine) Advanced Structures and Composites Center has received three Guinness World Records for the world’s largest prototype polymer 3D printer, largest solid 3D printed object, and largest 3D printed boat.
Designed to additively manufacture objects as long as 100ft, 22ft wide, and 10ft high, this 3D printer has been built to support innovation for defense and infrastructural applications. The system, which was developed by Ingersoll Machine Tools, created 3Dirigo, the 25-foot, 5000-pound 3D printed boat tested and christened at the university.
“The future of the [UMaine] Composites Center is bright, thanks to the excellent working relationship between UMaine, Oak Ridge National Laboratory [ORNL] and many other federal agencies, which will support next-generation, large-scale additive manufacturing with biobased thermoplastics,” said U.S. Senator Susan Margaret Collins.
Umaine 3D printing for Maritime and defense
Earlier this year, UMaine and ORNL were granted $20 million in U.S. federal funding to create bio-based 3D material for large-scale additive manufacturing. Prior to this, the Maine Technology Institute (MTI), awarded $500,000 to the Advanced Structures and Composites Center for the development of large-scale 3D printed boat structures. This research included marine industry leaders who intend to accelerate the production of boatbuilders in Maine with wood-filled plastics.
3Dirigo, which weighs 5000 pounds, was produced in three days using a blend of plastic and wood cellulose. The newly designed UMaine 3D printer will also support the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Soldier Center to develop deployable shelter systems. Thus a 3D printed 12-foot-long shelter was also produced and showcased.
“This is an exciting achievement in our partnership with the University of Maine,” said Moe Khaleel, associate laboratory director for Energy and Environmental Sciences at ORNL.
“This new equipment will accelerate application and integration of our fundamental materials science, plant genomics and manufacturing research to the development of new sustainable bioderived composites, creating economic opportunity for Maine’s forest products industry and the nation.”