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Student Designed World First 3D Printed Underwater Jetpack

Picture of Hanna Watkin
by Hanna Watkin
Jul 14, 2018

Archie O'Brien is a student at Loughborough University in the UK who has designed an underwater jetpack called CUDA, made from 3D printed materials.

Can you imagine gliding through converging tectonic plates in the crystal clear waters of Iceland or being accepted into a pod of dolphins in Bora Bora? These are the dreams of Archie O’Brien, a product design student at Loughborough University, UK.

O’Brien first embarked “on a journey of design” to create an underwater propulsion device in his final year at university. His initial idea was to “shrink down” a jet ski engine into a jetpack.

However, he quickly found that a better idea would be to come up with a new propulsion system which worked well as a backpack. So, he came up with his own design and it wasn’t long before his first prototype was built.

To create the propulsion backpack, FDM printing and PLA was mainly used, keeping the design low cost. SLS and carbon fiber-infused powder were used to create the impeller via 3D Hubs. O’Brien called his design the CUDA, check it out in the dramatic video below:

Patent Pending: CUDA Hopes to Launch in 2019

After 3D printing the design, it can be assembled in just 10 minutes. This is due to around 45 printed parts which all fit together. As well as this, CUDA runs on batteries which can easily be popped in and out.

CUDA is worn as a backpack and lightweight enough to be carried between dive sites. To control speed, the user holds a trigger. O’Brien has already tested his design in both open water and swimming pools. He found that the 3D printed parts were sturdy, causing no leakage or deterioration.

As the 3D printed design needed to function when underwater, there were a few precautions necessary. For example, the 3D printed parts were coated with epoxy resin. As well as this, there are silicone seals around the openings for the batteries and electronics.

Currently, the CUDA is patent pending. However, O’Brien hopes to launch the first production models by 2019. Hopefully, before then O’Brien will be able to live some of his adrenaline-fuelled dreams.

Source: 3D Hubs 


License: The text of "Student Designed World First 3D Printed Underwater Jetpack" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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