It’s an age-old problem. You draw up a nice 6.5-meter long motorboat and then discover the shape won’t allow for a fiberglass mold. What do you do? If you’re [Moi], you grab a few Kuka robots and 3D print it using thermoplastic with embedded glass fibers. A UV light cures the plastic and you wind up with printed fiberglass. That’s the story behind the MAMBO, a 3D printed powerboat.
Despite the color, the fiberglass isn’t blue out of the gate — the boat is painted. Still, it looks nice with lines inspired by [Sonny Levi]’s Arcidiavolo design from 1973. MAMBO stands for Motor Additive Manufacturing BOat. It has a dry weight of about 800 kg and is fitted with a cork floor, white leather seats, and an engine. We presume none of those things were 3D printed.
Although it wasn’t fiberglass, we’ve seen a 3D printed boat before. In particular, the University of Maine’s giant 22,000 square foot printer cranked one out. We’ve also seen boats printed in standard PLA filament, which then had fiberglass cloth and resin applied after printing. True that one was only RC, but there’s no reason the concept couldn’t be scaled up if you had the patience.
Hide glue has been around for thousands of years, and some of it is holding wood pieces three thousand years after application. It is made from animal protein, so vegetarians may want to stick to the petroleum-based adhesives. [Surjan Singh] wanted to see if its longevity made it a contender with modern epoxy by casting a couple of fiberglass car parts with the competing glues. In short, it doesn’t hold up in this situation, but it is not without merit.
Musical instrument makers and antique restorers still buy and use hide glue, but you would never expose it to heat or moisture. To its credit, hide glue doesn’t require a ventilator. All you need is boiling water and a popsicle stick, and you are in business. [Surjan] writes his findings like a narrative rather than steps, so his adventures are a delight to read. He found that a car part made with fiberglass and epoxy will withstand the weather better than the alternative because heat and humidity will soften hide glue. His Saab 96 isn’t the right application, but since it is nearly as strong as epoxy once set, you could make other fabric shapes, like a flannel nightstand or a lace coffee table, and you could shape them in the living room without toxifying yourself
No matter how you want to work with glues and substrates, Bil Herd has you covered, and here is an excellent tip for a cheap degassing setup.
Technically speaking, golf carts are already sports cars, they’re just not very sporty in themselves. When [rtkerth] went to trade in his old golf cart for a new one, he found that it would be more valuable to hang on to the old one and have a bit of fun with it. The result is retro-styled kart that would not look out of place at a micro car show.
Before getting to the really fun bits, he had to do a bit of prep work, such as relocating the six large batteries so that super cool stock seat can sit lower. Now the batteries are distributed throughout the vehicle, including one that’s been cleverly disguised as center console. Since the cart won’t be hitting the links anymore, there’s no need for a place to put clubs. Two of the batteries are now in the back, supported by a platform made from old bed frames.
We love the fiberglass fab work [rtkerth] did to the front and rear — it looks great, especially considering he’d never done it before. The rear is done more traditionally with a foam mold, but the front is fiberglassed directly over expanding foam insulation framed with cardboard. The local body shops refused to paint this baby roadster, so [rtkerth] did it himself before adding the killer touches — 1930s Brooklands-style windscreens and 1950s bullet mirrors that look great together.
Believe it or not, this isn’t the first amazing golf cart mod we’ve seen. Go see this baby DeLorean before you’re outta time.
If we’ve learned anything, it’s that 3D printers are exceptionally well suited to printing little boats. According to the Internet, 3D printers are at their best when pumping out cute PLA boats in all the colors of the rainbow; perfect for collecting dust on a shelf somewhere. Ask not what your Benchy can do for you, ask what you can do your Benchy.
But this 3D printed boat isn’t so cute and cuddly. In fact, it’s an absolute beast. Built by [Wayne Andrews], this nearly meter long 3D printed racing catamaran looks more Batman than Popeye. In the video after the break you can see a recent run of the boat on the lake, and we think you’ll agree it definitely has the performance to back up its fierce looks.
Impressively, the hull isn’t printed out of some expensive high-tech filament. It’s the cheapest PLA [Wayne] could get his hands on, and glued together with nothing more exotic than Loctite Super Glue Gel. The secret is the internal “West System” fiberglass cloth and resin work, which is the same stuff used on real boat hulls. It took about 5 days of continuous printing to produce all the pieces needed to assemble the hull, which is a scaled up version of a design by [Thomas Simon].
The internal layout is about what you’d expect in a fast RC boat. It’s running on a 1900 Kv motor powered by dual 6S batteries and a water cooled 180 A Seaking ESC which provides 5 BHP to the Octura x452 propeller. On the business end of his boat, [Wayne] used a commercial aluminum strut and rudder unit. Running gear printed out of something strong like nylon would be an interesting experiment, but perhaps a tall order for this particular motor.
We recently covered a 3D printed jet boat that’s no slouch either, but if you’re looking for a more relaxed ride you could always 3D print a FPV lifeboat.
Continue reading “3D Printed Catamaran Eats Benchy’s Lunch”
When the Magic Smoke is released, chances are pretty good that you’ve got some component-level diagnosis to do. It’s usually not that hard to find the faulty part, charred and crusty as it likely appears. In that case, some snips, a new non-crusty part, and a little solder are usually enough to get you back in business.
But what if the smoke came not from a component but from the PCB itself? [Happymacer] chanced upon this sorry situation in a power supply for an electric gate opener. Basking in the Australian sunshine for a few years, the opener started acting fussy at first, then not acting at all. Inspection of its innards revealed that some unlucky ants had shorted across line and neutral on the power supply board, which burned not only the traces but the FR4 of the board as well. Rather than replace the entire board, [Happymacer] carefully removed the carbonized (and therefore conductive) fiberglass and resin, leaving a gaping hole in the board. He fastened a patch for the hole from some epoxy glue; Araldite is the brand he used, but any two-part epoxy, like JB Weld, should work. One side of the hole was covered with tape and the epoxy was smeared into the hole, and after a week of curing and a little cleanup, it was ready for duty. The components were placed into freshly drilled holes, missing traces were replaced with wire, and it seems to be working fine.
This seems like a great tip to keep in mind for when catastrophe strikes your boards. There are more extreme ways to do it, of course, but perhaps none so flexible. After all, epoxy is versatile stuff.
[Dickel] always liked tracked vehicles. Taking inspiration from the ‘Peacemaker’ tracked vehicle in Mad Max: Fury Road, he replicated it as the Mad Mech. The vehicle is remote-controlled and the tank treads are partly from a VEX robotics tank tread kit. Control is via a DIY wireless controller using an Arduino and NRF24L01 modules. The vehicle itself uses an Arduino UNO with an L298N motor driver. Power is from three Li-Po cells.
The real artistic work is in the body. [Dickel] used a papercraft tool called Pepakura (non-free software, but this Blender plugin is an alternative free approach) for the design to make the body out of thin cardboard. The cardboard design was then modified to make it match the body of the Peacemaker as much as possible. It was coated in fiberglass for strength, then the rest of the work was done with body filler and sanding for a smooth finish. After a few more details and a good paint job, it was ready to roll.
There’s a lot of great effort that went into this build, and [Dickel] shows his work and process on his project page and in the videos embedded below. The first video shows the finished Mad Mech being taken for some test drives. The second is a montage showing key parts of the build process.
Continue reading “Glorious Body Of Tracked ‘Mad Mech’ Started As Cardboard”
Vacuum pumps are powerful tools because the atmospheric pressure on our planet’s surface is strong. That pressure is enough to crush evacuated vessels with impressive implosive force. At less extreme pressure differences, [hopsenrobsen] shows us how to cleverly use kitchen materials for vacuum molding fiberglass parts in a video can be seen after the break. The same technique will also work for carbon fiber molding.
We’ve seen these techniques used with commercially available vacuum bags and a wet/dry vac but in the video, we see how to make an ordinary trash bag into a container capable of forming a professional looking longboard battery cover. If the garbage bag isn’t enough of a hack, a ball of steel wool is used to keep the bag from interfering with the air hose. Some of us keep these common kitchen materials in the same cabinet so gathering them should ’t be a problem.
Epoxy should be mixed according to the directions and even though it wasn’t shown in the video, some epoxies necessitate a respirator. If you’re not sure, wear one. Lungs are important.
Fiberglass parts are not just functional, they can be beautiful. If plastic is your jam, vacuums form those parts as well. If you came simply for vacuums, how about MATLAB on a Roomba?
Thank you [Jim] who gave us this tip in the comments section about an electric longboard.
Continue reading “Vacuum Molding With Kitchen Materials”