TAHOE Boats Newest Design Uses Thermwood 3D Printed Tooling


TAHOE Boats, Springfield, MO. formally announced the all-new, revolutionary T16 boat design, engineered with families in mind. Using innovative technology, the T16 delivers an unprecedented lightweight design and affordability with an uncompromising commitment to quality and performance. One factor that made this boat possible is that the T16 was designed and built in the U.S. leveraging innovative techniques never before used in the marine industry.

White River Marine Group, the marine manufacturing arm of Bass Pro Shops, worked with Thermwood, utilizing Thermwood’s Large Scale Additive Manufacturing (LSAM) system to custom-print the tool used to manufacture the boat’s hull – the first time 3D printing has been used on actual boat production at this scale. This boat-building advancement led to greater efficiency in the planning, design and construction of the T16.

Photo courtesy of Thermwood Corporation

Photo courtesy of Thermwood Corporation

Thermwood printed the master pattern for the boat hull at its Development/Demonstration Labs in Dale, Indiana. The pattern was printed in six sections from 20% carbon fiber filled ABS supplied by Techmer PM, who was an active partner in the program. The joints between the pieces were machined, pinned and bonded together and the assembled hull machined to final size and shape. The entire process required only ten days to complete.

After printing and machining, the tool was sent to White River where they applied, sanded and polished a proprietary coating, which they developed earlier, using previously printed parts supplied by Thermwood.

Photo courtesy of Thermwood Corporation

Photo courtesy of Thermwood Corporation

Prior to this public introduction, Thermwood was able to use images and videos of the process, which have been on their web site for some time now, however, they respected a request not to disclose the participants or final use of the tool until the boat was publicly released by White River Marine Group.

An interesting note is that this type of tool can be produced in even less time with current technology. Using Thermwood’s Vertical Layer Printing, which wasn’t available at the time this tool was made, this type of pattern can now be printed as one piece in just over two days, eliminating the machining between sections and the bonding process. This should cut build time almost in half.

“Additive manufacturing has the potential to dramatically change the way boats are built” says Thermwood’s founder, Chairman and CEO, Ken Susnjara.

Master patterns, such as this, are used to make molds for high production rates where multiple molds are required. For larger boats or lower production rates, it may be possible to print the mold itself rather than a pattern from which multiple molds are made. Thermwood has also been working on this approach and has recently announced the successful production of a seven foot long, 1/7 scale model of a yacht hull mold using Vertical Layer Printing. Work continues in both these areas.

Photo courtesy of Thermwood Corporation

Photo courtesy of Thermwood

Even at this early stage of development it is apparent that large scale additive manufacturing could have a dramatic, perhaps even a transformational impact on production methods used in the marine industry, significantly reducing tooling cost and dramatically speeding up the tool building process.

About TAHOE Boats
TAHOE is part of the White River Marine Group family of brands, Bass Pro’s marine manufacturing arm and the largest builder of boats in the world by volume. In addition to TAHOE, White River Marine manufactures America’s favorite boat brands including MAKO, NITRO, RANGER, REGENCY SUN TRACKER, TRACKER, TRITON and others. All White River Marine boats are proudly manufactured in the U.S.

About Thermwood
Thermwood Corporation – Thermwood is an almost fifty year old industrial machinery manufacturing company. At the dawn of the microprocessor age, Thermwood developed, what turned out to be the very first microprocessor based CNC control system, which they then used to introduce the very first CNC router. Much of today’s core CNC router technology originated at Thermwood. Today Thermwood is a major supplier of CNC routers to a variety of industries worldwide. Now, Thermwood has turned its attention to additive manufacturing with its LSAM (L-Sam) machines. These are large scale, industrial quality machine tools targeting the manufacture of large size industrial production tooling in several major industries.  To accomplish this, Thermwood has developed all-new LSAM print technology that is ideally suited for the production of large parts from a variety of reinforced composite thermoplastic materials.

Thermwood Corporation
904 Buffaloville Rd
Dale, Indiana 47523

About Techmer PM
Techmer PM – Techmer PM is a leading materials design company and works in deep partnership with plastics processors, OEMs, and designers to solve some of their most difficult business, manufacturing, and sustainability challenges. For more than 30 years, they have helped consumer and industrial product manufacturers achieve the finest color, texture, appearance, and functional enhancements for a variety of product applications. Techmer PM is a family-owned company that’s based in Clinton, Tennessee where they operate their largest production facility, as well as five others throughout the U.S. They have been a pioneer in developing polymers for large scale additive manufacturing applications.

Source: Thermwood Corporation

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