3D Printing for the yachtbuilding industry

3D printing yacht parts

Written by Jasper Bouwmeester

2nd April 2020

During the Boot 2020 boatshow in Dusseldorf the renownded sailing yacht builder Domani revealed an innovative electric tender, the Domani E32.

Domani E32, a fully electric powered boat

De developments of electric powered ships and yachts, driven by the necessity to reduce emisions of the shipping sector but also the yachting industry, are finally resulting in usable and high performance solutions. It is now actually possible to enjoy a full day on the water on your pleasure yacht without use of a combustion engine. Despite these innovation which make this possible and a charter industry which does embrace these developments the private owners is still reluctant to invest in a fully electric powered yacht, also because innovations in electric propultion are developing at such a pace that some fear the new technology may be obsolete a year later. Because of this, and to ‘test the waters’, Domani decided to develop and build their E-line in small series or  ‘one off’s’. The enables Domani to continuously renew, with each new model, components and layouts and offer clients a bespoke yacht with the latest technology tailored to their wishes.

Single piece manufacturing and composites

In general a few preparatory steps are required in order to actually start producing composite parts. First of all digital designs need to be made in order to produce physical objects. These digital designs are then used to machine models (or plugs) which in turn are used to make molds of. These (tooling)steps are generally required first to produce the final parts (as for examble a seating, navigation console or flagmast). So, prior to working on producing the actual parts many hours are spent on (engineering)hours and considerable investments are made producing plugs and molds.

When producing single parts or small series the initial costs for (plugs & molds)engineering and production of tooling will make up a substantial part of the final cost price.

Composite steering console made by 3d printing

From sketch to steering comsole

In close colaboration with the designer of the Domani E32, Jonathan Anthierens,the initial sketches were used to engineer a detailled 3d model.

3d sketches and cad model of steering console

Steering console from 3d sketches to 3d model

Fibre reinforced 3d-prints

Instead of using this 3d-cad model to produce plugs and molds we use our technology to directly 3d-print the product. In order to enable these resin objects to withstand mechanical loads the assembled steering console is reinforced with glass fiber and then finished in a 2-component primer.

Adding glass fiber reinforcement to 3d printed parts

3d printed navigation station

Primered assembly of steering console

Integration of electronic componens

The cockpit parts at the ends of the windshield are printed as well and, besides being an aesthetical feature, these serve as the housing for the navigation side lights.

3d-printed superstructure part with integrated navigation lights


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