The U.S. Navy’s Disruptive Technology Lab and the team at ORNL’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility Developed the first 3D printed Submarine Hull for the military. This was published by the U.S. Department of Energy at their blog. The idea is taken by the Navy’s submersible SEAL Delivery Vehicle (SDV).
For the development of the submarine hull the US Navy used six carbon fiber composite pieces printed with BAAM. BAAM states for Cincinnati Inc.’s Big Area Additive Manufacturing. At BAAM there is a technology which can produce 3D printed objects up to ten times bigger than the currently available. The new 3D printed vehicles have a very useful role. The US Navy uses them for transportation of the SEALs and equipment to special operations missions. The 30-foot proof-of-concept hull was created using the same technology ORNL has used to create its 3-D printed 1965 Shelby Cobra. This was a replica as well as the largest solid 3-D printed item in the world – a trim-and-drill tool for the Boeing 777X. A very interesting characteristic is that it is up to 200-500 times faster than any existing additive machine.
We are talking about vehicles that can be created on demand. Also it is produced with great economy – saving time, money and energy. In fact, a regular submarine hull costs up to 600.000-800.000 $ and they need about 2-5 months of hard work. With the 3D printed ones the production costs are reduced by 90 percent. Another positive fact is that production time is shortened to a matter of days.
What is next?
Of course, when you get the thing you need with the best possible characteristics, you don’t stop here. The next phase of the project is to create a second, water-tight version of the hull. This is expected to happen in 2019 when the new hull will be tested in a wave pool at Carderock. This is an elite testing facility that mimics the most compromising conditions that ships and submarines could encounter in the open ocean.