“The America’s Cup is a racing event like none other and tests the limits of design and manufacturing,” said Robyn Lesh, Design Team Engineer at American Magic. “Solid aerodynamics is truly the key, as our vessels must essentially ‘fly’ over the water with durable, extremely light-weight parts for racing. Whether it’s for developing prototypes, controllers, brackets or fittings.”
And what better way to develop lightweight, durable parts than with 3D printing and carbon fiber materials? The New York Yacht Club, American Magic, recently went into an agreement with Stratasys to help develop parts for their vessels that will race in the 36th America’s Cup. American Magic is a combination of three elite racing programs and a leading yacht club. This group joined forces to win the America’s Cup, the highest prize in sailing and the oldest event in international sports.
American Magic is one of seven international entrants in the high-profile America’s Cup, scheduled to commence on March 6 in Auckland, New Zealand. The 36th edition of the event boasts teams from the US, New Zealand, Italy, UK, Malta and Netherlands. Prior to the race, the teams will compete in multiple America’s Cup World Series regattas and the Prada Cup, the Challenger Finals.
With the need for high-speed, lightweight production parts for each vessel, additive manufacturing is suited for the demands of competitive sailing yachts. American Magic boats are specifically designed with aerodynamics in mind, and supported by the team’s Official Innovation Partner, Airbus. The boats are mostly constructed of carbon fiber material, including the critical sails, mast and hull.
The chosen printer to work with carbon fiber is the Stratasys Fortus 450mc. It works with carbon fiber reinforced FDM Nylon 12. Fully supported by the Fortus 450mc, engineers can design and 3D print with ease, innovating and re-engineering new parts after each qualifying race.
“The demands of sailing are very similar to the speed, loads and lightweight requirements mandated by aerospace. That’s why carbon fiber is such a natural choice for material,” said Pat Carey, Senior Vice President at Stratasys. “At Stratasys, we have decades of experience enabling leaders in aerospace and high-performance sports to transform their manufacturing processes through 3D printing. American Magic is a great example of innovative manufacturing leaders pushing the boundaries of success with 3D printing.”
Added Lesh, “Stratasys 3D printing ensures we can quickly build, iterate and produce industrial-quality parts necessary to take home the Cup.”
American Magic is maximizing 3D printing for a range of applications, including innovative prototypes and essential brackets, fittings, and mounts. This work is partially aimed at improving aerodynamic loads on the team’s test boat, dubbed “The Mule.” The Mule is a half-sized version of the AC75 racing boats currently in production for the next America’s Cup.
New York Yacht Club American Magic