University submarine racing team buoyant thanks to 3D printing

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The Godiva 2 human powered submarine, showing its internal components, many of which are 3D printed

The University of Warwick’s ‘Godiva 2’ submarine is set for the European International Submarine Races in Gosport, UK, thanks to dropping design and production time with numerous 3D printed parts.

The team won the competition’s prestigious innovation award at last year’s human-powered submarine championship, having used 3D printing to prototype the submarine, this year the team decided to produce the final manufactured parts on its Stratasys Fortus 3D printer.

Having designed the craft to withstand a harsh ocean environment, parts including the fins, feet, propeller and interior steering components were produced on the professional FDM printer, saving an estimated £3,000 in production costs through a 75 per cent materials cost reduction.

Project leader Josh Dobson beside the previous year’s craft

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All the parts were produced from Stratasys’ ABS-M30 material, with the exception of the propeller blades, which were 3D printed in new test material by Stratasys in the USA.

“Our extensive use of 3D printing remains one of our strengths,” said project leader Josh Dobson. “Our Stratasys Fortus 3D Printer is very much at the heart our design and manufacturing process, providing significant benefits that simply could not be achieved via traditional methods.

“These are parts that can perform in the harshest waters, which is incredible given the speed and cost at which they can be produced.”

Running for its fourth year as an academic project for final year Masters engineering students, the project involves designing, manufacturing and racing a submarine.

Named ‘WarwickSub’, the team of six Warwick University students derive from various multi-disciplinary backgrounds including mechanical and manufacturing engineering.

In addition to building a one-of-a-kind submarine, the students spend a significant amount of time engaging with other school pupils to encourage the uptake of STEM subjects, as well as working with industry partners internationally to learn more about the latest innovations in engineering.

The Godiva 2 in racing livery


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