Trying And (Mostly) Failing To 3D Print A Hydrofoil

[Sam Barker] had a boring dingy that he wanted to spice up a bit, so he resolved to 3D print a hydrofoil wing for it so that it could fly across the water. (Video, embedded below.)

With a large wing designed and sliced into several pieces, and a total print time of 200 hours, [Sam] was ready to glue the foil wing together when he realized his scale was way off and the wings were far too large for his boat. With some hacking, [Sam] was able to use a single wing across the bottom of the ship. [Tom Stanton] came over to help with fiberglassing, and they were ready for a test.

As you might have guessed from the title, the test wasn’t particularly successful. Swapping the engine on the boat for a more potent motor gave the lift he needed in the front, but without a back foil, it was a wheelie rather than what [Sam] hoped for. Back at home, they printed a second wing and went back for a second test. The boat would start to lift out the water, but the shaft of the engine lifted out of the water, sending him back down. Unfortunately, a downpour cut the test short.

Not to be defeated entirely, [Sam] connected it to a much larger boat once the weather cleared and pulled his dingy along behind. To [Sam’s] credit, they did get some solid foiling, and the ship did lift out of the water until the wings sheared off from the stress. All in all, an entertaining story of engineering while racing against the weather.

We admire [Sam’s] ambition, and if you’re thinking about building a whole hydrofoil, we suggest starting with a smaller RC model and scaling up from there.

5 thoughts on “Trying And (Mostly) Failing To 3D Print A Hydrofoil

  1. Foilboards are pretty well understood technology now, and can lift a somewhat long/skinny craft fairly stably with a single foil (and some balancing required from the payload.) So I think this is definitely worth continuing to pursue. It would be so cool. I wonder if he couldn’t use the big prop to get the thing up on the foil and then a much smaller prop/motor in the back of the foil to keep it flying, as he should need an order of magnitude less power when he reduces his wetted area and that way he could keep the power on when up on the foil.

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