The world’s largest 3D printer was unveiled at UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center (ASCC) last week. More than 250 people attended the dedication ceremony, including a representative of the Guinness Book of World Records, who presented an official proclamation of the massive machine’s record-holding status.
Using nanocellulose, a wood-based type of biodegradable plastic developed at UMaine, the printer will help UMaine researchers and their partners develop innovative ways of using Maine’s wood products in manufacturing. The printer can produce objects as long as 100 feet by 22 feet wide by 10 feet tall. The printer is part of a $20 million federally funded partnership between UMaine and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.
As its first project, the 3D printer produced another Guinness world record holder: a 25-foot, 5,000-pound 3D-printed boat that took just over 70 hours to construct. A time-lapse of the boat being printed can be found here. As part of last week’s ceremony, the boat, named 3Dirigo, was put afloat in the wind-wave testing basin of the university’s Alfond W2 Ocean Engineering Laboratory. UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy, U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King, Maine Congressman Jared Golden, Maine Commissioner of Economic and Community Development Heather Johnson ‘92, and ASCC founder and director Habib Dagher were among those who boarded the craft for the ceremonial first ride.