In England, before you can obtain your Masters in engineering, you must complete a final year project. For six engineering students from the University of Warwick, that project will be to build and race a human-powered submarine for the European International Submarine Races in Gosport, UK (July 6-15). The project involves designing and manufacturing the submarine, which the students will perform under the supervision of WMG’s Dr. Ian Tuersley and in their pit area within WMG’s Engineering Hall.
To complete the project, the students will be using a Fortus 3D printer from Stratasys EMEA, a subsidiary of Stratasys Ltd. Claimed to be the “most 3D printed vessel on the grid,” the ‘Godiva 2’ submarine features many 3D printed parts designed to withstand the pressures of racing.
According to Josh Dobson, Project Leader of the Warwick Submarine team, the use of the Fortus 3D Printer has been integral to building the submarine in time for the race, as well as keeping costs within the university’s tight budget.
“Our extensive use of 3D printing remains one of our strengths,” says Dobson. “Our Stratasys Fortus 3D Printer is very much at the heart of our design and manufacturing process, providing significant benefits that simply could not be achieved with traditional methods. Using this technology, we printed final parts for the submarine 90% faster than if we used conventional manufacturing and we also saved £2,000-£3,000 in manufacturing costs. These are parts that can perform in the harshest waters, which is incredible given the speed and cost at which they can be produced.”
Having won the prestigious innovation award at last year’s championship for the use of 3D printing within the prototyping of the submarine, the team decided to go a step further this year. They extended the use of 3D printing to include the manufacture of final production parts capable of performing in actual racing conditions. The students used Stratasys’ advanced ABS-M30 material – ideal for end-use environments due to its strength, functionality and ability to perform under complex shapes.
“The material development over the last few years at Stratasys has been integral to the evolution of 3D printing from a prototyping tool to where we are today; 3D printing parts for direct use on our submarine,” continues Dobson. “All the parts were produced from ABS-M30, apart from the propeller blades which were 3D printed by Stratasys in the USA.
“Having access to this technology gives us the flexibility to produce extremely complex and multi-functional parts cost-effectively and on-demand,” continues Dobson.
“For example, our fixing feet are an incredibly complex piece of geometry and have been 3D printed to perfectly fit the hull at virtually no additional cost, yet remain as functional and strong as a traditionally manufactured part. In addition, by creating the part using 3D printing, we’ve reduced material waste by about 75% compared to machining the part traditionally from a solid piece of metal, which bodes well for a future of more sustainable manufacturing,” he adds.
Known as ‘WarwickSub’, the students come from various multi-disciplinary backgrounds including mechanical and manufacturing engineering.
“The Warwick Submarine team is a credit to their university which exemplifies the exciting future of British engineering,” concludes Sig Behrens, General Manager, Global Education at Stratasys. “We are seeing rapid growth in the number of applications that disrupt traditional manufacturing processes to increase speed and reduce costs leveraging our Fortus line for final part production. It’s an exciting future – and for the engineers of tomorrow – it is critical that they learn this technology now as much as possible, as the demand for 3D printing design skills becoming increasingly common.”