WVII interviews Dagher, Anderson about 3D printing for boatbuilding

WVII (Channel 7) spoke with the University of Maine’s Habib Dagher, executive director of the Advanced Structures and Composites Center, and James Anderson, senior research and development program manager at the UMaine Composites Center, about using 3D printing for boatbuilding. The center recently received $500,000 from the Maine Technology Institute to form a technology cluster to help Maine boatbuilders explore how large-scale 3D printing using economical, wood-filled plastics can provide the industry with a competitive advantage. Anderson said boatbuilders use a lot of parts that need to be created. “I used to work for a boatbuilder in Maine, and we were forever buying tooling and making small parts and I knew the cost of tooling and the lead time was really high,” Anderson said. “And 3D printing just seemed like common sense.” Wood is broken down into a powder that can be mixed with plastics for use in the 3D printer, which lays down layer after layer to create items, WVII reported. “Our goal is to be able to print with 50 percent wood by weight,” Dagher said, adding researchers always are looking for new ways to use wood. “One way to do that is using large-scale 3D printing and that’s why we’re going in that direction,” he said.