Monthly Archives: October 2016

Largest 3D Printed Model Boat Yet?


That’s a four-foot rule laying in front of the hull.

OK, I don’t know what the largest 3D-Printed R/C model boat might be, but I’m unaware of any that are bigger than this one… it’s certainly the biggest printed assembly I’ve ever dealt with. Know of larger examples? I’m happy to feature them here!

This is another commission build, and we decided that a printed hull, even with its additional purchase cost, was competitive to the time and labor required to build such a hull in wood or fiberglass.

Due to printer size limitations, the hull is printed in three sections and assembled with tongue-in-groove mating joints. And unlike building with a fiberglass hull, the printing process allows for internal details to be included, such as precision-aligned motor mounts, deck beam seats, deck lip, and integral reinforcing structures.

This build is in-process; you can follow it on RC Groups.


Outer surface of hull is recreated in 3D CAD from original shipyard drawings.


Details are added, including the internal reinforcements.


And the details are exactly reproduced in the final 3D Print.


Filed under Model Ship Building

PT Boat: Large Scale, R/C, and Loaded with 3D Prints

1:16 scale Elco 77, ready to ship

1:16 scale Elco 77, ready to ship

My latest completion: A 77-foot Elco PT Boat in 1:16 scale… that works out to about 5 feet long. The model uses a mix of technologies– traditional wood hull (plank on frame), with numerous 3D Printed detail parts… including the large aerodynamic cabin structure. The full build is detailed at RC Groups, but here are some highlights (click on any image to get a larger version).


Authentic pattern of dual-diagonal planking laid over stringers and frames.



Interior of hull can be seen here.



Easier to install the triple drive train prior to adding the deck!



Triple cast-bronze props- like jewelery!



The electronics package includes a microcomputer with custom control of the triple speed controls. The operator can “turn in place” with counter-rotating wing props by merely turning the steering wheel at zero throttle.



A look at the electronics center. From the left: Receiver, microcomputer, junction board, sound system.



A nice touch- some 1942 silver to commemorate the original boat’s construction date… mounted on varnished mahogany of course.



Some of the 3D Printed details: 20mm and 37mm cannons.



A mix of 3DP details and machined PVC bars makes up the accurate torpedo tubes.



Cabin is made of 3D Printed nylon- very strong! And designed in CAD for a perfect fit to the highly cambered and sheered deck surface.



A mix of 3D Printed details and hand-made brass railings on the cabin.



Example of how the finely designed weapons can look with the painted finish. Even the ammo belts are 3D printed!



Models are carefully crated for shipping. This one arrived unscathed, even though the crate absorbed obvious abuse in shipping.


Videos: Maiden voyage, and demonstration of the sound system.


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Filed under Model Ship Building