Home Applications & Case Studies JFD and MNL use 3D printing for maritime exhibitions

JFD and MNL use 3D printing for maritime exhibitions

JFD, an underwater technology and maritime solutions company, has commissioned Malcolm Nicholls Ltd (MNL) to create a 1:10 scale model of their innovative, agile submersible. This collaboration came about due to MNL’s renowned expertise in precision engineering and the production of complex models and prototypes. The aim was to showcase JFD’s ground-breaking technology at an upcoming exhibition.

JFD’s primary goal was to take the exhibition participants into the world of the submersible. The vision was not just a simple model, but an immersive experience that would make visitors feel like they were at the bottom of the sea. This was to be achieved through a living model and a realistic representation of the underwater environment.

The challenge was to design, develop and construct the model in just six weeks. This tight schedule required MNL to work efficiently and accurately.

The model needed to be more than just a static representation. JFD specified that it should include integrated lights, a submerged screen to replicate the ocean and an illuminated stand to highlight the words ‘Agile’.

For the production, MNL chose Somos Watershed material and their largest 3D printer, the Neo 800, due to the precise print quality and excellent surface finish of the material. A clear, dome-shaped viewing window, a crucial element, was vacuum cast to ensure UV stability and durability.

The model was carefully crafted at a scale of 1:10 to reveal every detail of the technology. Before production began, MNL created 3D renderings of the entire exhibit to ensure the design matched JFD’s vision and any necessary adjustments could be made.

The choice of stereolithography (SLA) as the manufacturing method was crucial to achieve the required accuracy and surface quality. Internal carbon fiber strips were used to prevent long-term sagging of the model. Other technologies such as Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) were ruled out due to their disadvantages in terms of surface quality and porosity.

During the CAD phase, MNL played an essential role in ensuring model integrity. Strategically placed support tubes for steel support rods were added to reinforce the structure and ensure stability during the exhibition.

The technical challenges were successfully mastered. Renderings had to be created for customer approval before the project began. The model was reinforced with steel rods to ensure stability. CAD adjustments were made when scaling down the submersible to ensure the highest build quality. Finally, a comprehensive step-by-step guide was created for assembly at the exhibition.

The result of these efforts was an impressive exhibit that vividly showcased JFD’s technology. The model attracted a lot of attention at the show, highlighting JFD’s innovation and MNL’s precision work. It was not just a technical demonstration, but an unforgettable experience for visitors.

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