3D printed yachts

How 3D printing will change the way we sail

Livrea is a pioneering Yacht designer and manufacturer based in Pantelleria, a small island in Southern Italy. What is so groundbreaking about their studio: they are among the very first in their field to use 3D printing technologies in the modeling and prototyping processes of traditional sailing yacht designs. Leveraging on this experience and knowledge, they have been researching new, feasible ways to utilize 3D printing for final parts in the actual full-size boats as well.

Digital Yacht Manufacturing for Everyone

Livrea26 went from a digital desgin to a compelte physical prototype in just a few steps (image: LivreaYacht)
Livrea26 went from a digital design to a complete physical prototype in just a few steps (image: LivreaYacht)

Their efforts have not gone unnoticed in the industry. While we are probably not going to be able to 3D print a yacht anytime soon, there is no doubt that level engineers are going to implement 3D printing in order to create unique and personal products for low – and even single – scale manufacturing. We have to wait until materials and technologies will make it possible. When that happens we – as in the wealthiest among us – are going to be able to digitally customize our yachts or cars, and order one made. Eventually, we might even be able to make new parts at home, and simply snap them on.

Livrea already uses high precision CNC machines for the manufacturing of their yacht parts, so going one more step forward to the 3D printers and the possible exotic composite materials is only natural for them. Using the WindForm family of advanced 3D printable materials and additive manufacturing processes (selective laser sintering), they have created the prototype for their latest model, named Livrea 26 (since it is 26 feet long). This yacht is a replica of a traditional fishing boats from Pantelleria, transformed into a truly marvelous product of modern marine engineering. It combines the latest technologies with the classic styling, along with Italian finesse and elegance at its finest.

Sailing the Seas of the Future

The current protoype is about 70 cm long, but future version will become progressively larger (image: Livrea26)
The current prototype is about 70 cm long, but future version will become progressively larger (image: Livrea26)

The current model is at a 1:14 scale. The goal is to slowly build up in size – as the technologies become available and affordable – until a real 1:1 replica can be manufactured. Using larger printers and eliminating the current limitations, Livrea and their partners can revolutionize the way boats are built and offer new benefits like extreme shell stiffness, as fewer parts and connections will be used on the boats. These will also be more maneuverable thanks to the reduced weight of the composite materials. The nautical applications of such methods are endless and the time to market of any new design will be greatly reduced, compared to more traditional methods that involve delicate woodwork.

With model 26, Livrea envisions a speedy boat that will blend in with nature. That is why it has officially named it “Figlia del Vento” which is Italian for “Daughter of the Wind”. It’s too early to reveal release dates or a price range, but one thing is for sure: 3D printing has “invaded” every sector of human craftsmanship, enriching our creativity with the corresponding tools, freeing us from the limits of conventional handwork. Everything feels like it is moving on to version 2.0, and so is boat building. Livrea is among the first to set sail towards this new age, and we are excited to sail with them, pushed by the winds of our imagination.