As the boats for yacht raising become lighter and faster, approaching speeds of 50 knots, ORACLE TEAM USA let the world know today that 3d printing is helping them gain an edge on their global competition.
Following "one of the greatest comebacks in sports history", according to the Wall Street Journal, ORACLE TEAM USA is getting ready to defend their America's Cup trophy next year in Bermuda, and they're employing a technique that allows them to draw parts in three dimensions and then make them instantaneously using in house 3d printers.
"We can print parts out of titanium, aluminum, plastics, instead of having to draft something on paper and hand it to a machinist to make," says Aaron Perry, a desinger with ORACLE TEAM USA. "We can actually draw the thing in every level of detail and send the file to a printer that will have the piece finished and ready to go, sometimes within the same day."
Over the past 10 years, the weight of boats racing in America's Cup - which is the international sailing race which awards the world's oldest international sporting trophy - has dropped from just over 50,000 pounds to just over 5,000 pounds. As the boats become lighter and faster, it's imperative for performance and safety purposes that design changes to the world's fastest sail boats are tested extensively.
"The 3d modeling is definitely critical to the campaign, I think," Perry says. "It saves a lot of time. We're able to carefully map out and have a plan for most of the pieces that we have to build and the variations that we can make to these within the rule long before we actually put down the first plies constructing anything."