Here at 3D Rapid Print, one of the fastest growing 3D Printing companies in the Thames Valley, we like to keep abreast of the latest innovations in 3D printing.

Circa July 2015, United States Coast Guard Academy mechanical engineering professor Ron Adrezin spent circa three weeks aboard the United States Coast Guard Cutter Healy (The Healey), as part of a scientific mission led by the Coast Guard Research and Development Centre (CGRDC) of New London, Connecticut. The CGRDC was investigating its future role in the Arctic, and Adrezin was experimenting with having a 3D printer onboard The Healey.

Things printed during the experiment included:

  • Replacement parts for the shipboard dishwasher, which broke a few days after they left Nome, Alaska. (Those onboard would have otherwise had to use the limited supply of paper products).
  • A case for a video camera attached to an aerostat balloon tethered to the ship that was used to provide radar surveillance and take pictures.
  • Shoe inserts for a crew member who had repeatedly complained of his feet aching. They wouldn’t have been able to otherwise get them until The Healey would have returned to its homeport of Seattle, Washington in October 2015.
  • Plastic challenge coins depicting a polar bear and the words “Healy 1501 USCGA RDC.”

The Healy is a 420 ft. long medium icebreaker commissioned in the year 2000 that mostly operates in the Arctic and Bering seas. The US Coast Guard started 3D printing stuff on The Healey at least as far back as 2013, when they made replacement parts for a remote-controlled vehicle that was crushed in the ice. Circa August 2017, the US Coast Guard started experimenting with using 3D printers onboard its ships to produce spare parts that would not normally be shipboard.

Circa January 2017, International Submarine Engineering (ISE) of Port Coquitlam, Canada used the Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing technology of Sciaky of Chicago, Illonois to produce a titanium variable ballast tank for an arctic submarine. ISE describe themselves as the “world leader in the design and integration of autonomous and remotely operated robotic vehicles and terrestrial robotics”; Sciaky describe themselves as “the most trusted provider of advanced welding systems and job shop welding services in the fabrication market.” When ISE’s supplier shut down, they approached Sciaky after discovering they had 3D printed titanium propellant tanks for Lockheed Martin Space Systems of Denver, Colorado in 2015.

Circa November 2018, the United States Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) experimented with using a Stereolithography Apparatus style printer aboard the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer, while it would be mapping deepwater areas in the Caribbean and South Atlantic Bight. As the printer uses a volume of curable liquid resin that needs to remain properly level, it was stabilised with a rig that would usually be used to stabilise IMAX cameras.

3D printing is an amazing tool. It can grow your small business or start a mini revolution in an industry. Explore what it can do for you when you contact us today.

Disclaimer: Featured image of “Bear and Corwin June 1914” is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code.