Surface Scanning Methods and Large-Scale FDM Printing for the Replication of Watercraft Layup Tooling

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Nuttall, D.W.
Elliott, A.M.
Post, B.K.
Love, L.J.

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University of Texas at Austin


The manufacturing of tooling for large, contoured surfaces for fiber-layup applications requires significant effort, with traditional methods for the auto industry using hand sculpted clay, and the marine pleasure-craft industry typically creating forms from foam lay-up, then hand cut or machined down from a billet. Oak Ridge National Lab’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (ORNL MDF) collaborated with Magnum Venus Products to develop a process for reproducing legacy whitewater adventure craft via digital scanning and large scale 3-D Printing molds. The process entailed scanning a legacy canoe, converting to CAD, additively manufacturing the mold, and subtractively finishing the transfer surfaces. The outlined steps were performed on a specific canoe geometry, with intent to develop energy efficient, marketable processes for replicating complex shapes related to watercraft, and provide products for demonstration to the composites industry. It is anticipated that developing this process to manufacture tooling for complex contoured surfaces will have direct applicability to the sports/pleasure craft industry, naval and other watercraft, as well as bathrooms and large trucks.


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