The Lehvoss Group and its parent company Lehmann&Voss&Co of Hamburg, Germany, are partnering with Italian boat builder, Livrea Yacht, to build the world’s first 3D-printed sailboat. Since work began on the design in 2014, the group has supported process development and engineered its Luvucom 3F customized 3D-printing carbon-fiber-reinforced thermoplastic compounds specifically for the application.
The 3D-printed yacht features carbon-fiber-reinforced PEEK construction.
The innovative yacht, called the Mini 650, is the ambitious project of two Italian boat builders, Francesco Belvisi and Daniele Cevola. They are building it for the 2019 solo transatlantic yacht race, called the Mini-Transat, which starts in France and ends in Brazil. Livrea Yacht performs all simulation and evaluation work for the project, which is supported by engineers experienced in the America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race.
Concurrent with their work of designing and building the Mini 650, Belvisi and Cevola have driven the development of a dedicated direct extrusion 3D-printing technology with their company, Ocore, which is providing the required quality of parts for the yacht. Besides improving the printing hardware—robot, extruder and nozzle—they have patented a new material deposition strategy using an algorithm inspired by fractals.
The customized 3D printing materials engineered and supplied by the group are based on high-performance thermoplastic polymers, such as polyetheretherketone (PEEK). “To achieve the required mechanical properties, these polymers are reinforced with carbon fibers,” says Thiago Medeiros Araujo, Luvucom 3F Market Development Manager for the group. “In addition, they are modified to yield an improved layer strength with no warping of the printed parts. This results in parts that are stronger, lighter and more durable.”
According to Belvisi, Chief Technology Officer of Ocore, “The yacht will be highly competitive thanks to the light and strong 3D-printed parts. 3D printing dramatically reduces the build time for the yacht and also makes it more economical. We are looking forward not only to building the first 3D printed boat but also to winning the competition in 2019.”
Commenting on the partnership with Lehvoss Group, Cevola, who is Managing Director of Ocore said, “We are excited to have them on board for this innovative project. Lehvoss Group is a widely recognized global manufacturer of customized polymer materials. Their sponsorship, additional support and experience with dedicated materials for our technology has helped a lot in driving our project. In addition, we now can also translate this technology to other industrial sectors for other applications.”
Lehvoss Group believes strongly in 3D printing as a way of producing higher performing and competitive parts. “We are happy to be a partner in this challenging and very exciting project,” said Medeiros Araujo. “The Livrea yacht will show what today’s dedicated processing and 3D printing polymers can already achieve."