A university student has designed a futuristic underwater jetpack that can seamlessly propel you around a pool.
As if that wasn’t enough, the jetpack was made entirely using 3D printed materials.
Archie O’Brien, a design student at Loughborough University in the UK, began building it as part of a student project.
The CUDA underwater jetpack was conceived just one year ago, but could go on sale as soon as 2019.
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HOW DID A STUDENT CREATE A 3D PRINTED JETPACK?
A student from a UK university constructed a 3D printed jetpack.
It takes just minutest to assemble and can be worn as a backpack.
Called CUDA, the device can propel swimmers at speeds of up to 8mph.
It’s made up of 45 3D printed parts, apart from the drive shaft.
The student created a unique propulsion system that makes it the ‘fastest underwater jet pack in the world.’
The jetpack can go up to 8mph, but users can adjust it manually, or even turn on a cruise control mode.
O’Brien worked with 3D printing company 3D Hubs to build CUDA, which contains roughly 45 3D printed parts total.
It can be assembled in less than 10 minutes under water, according to 3D Hubs.
Even the device’s impeller, or a rotating mechanism that powers the centrifugal pump, is made out of 3D printed material, further reinforced with carbon fiber that gives it the ‘extreme stiffness needed for such parts.’
O’Brien originally wanted to shrink down a jet ski engine into a jetpack, but later devised a custom, compact propulsion system.
‘With its own patented propulsion system CUDA is the fastest Underwater Jetpack in the world, whilst remaining easily portable between dive sites,’ Loughborough Design School noted.
Even the device’s impeller, or a rotating mechanism that powers the centrifugal pump, is made out of 3D printed material, further reinforced with carbon fiber that gives it ‘stiffness’
O’Brien originally wanted to shrink down a jet ski engine into a jetpack, but devised a custom, compact propulsion system. They claim it’s the fastest Underwater Jetpack in the world
CUDA operates similar to a jet ski, in that it sucks in water and shoots it out through a rear funnel at higher speeds, according to Gizmodo.
Users wear the jetpack like a backpack and only have to point their body in the direction they want to swim toward.
To control the speed, users operate a hand held trigger system.
‘Steering is similar to an airplane, as you need a certain amount of speed before you can effectively turn,’ 3D Hubs explained.
A detachable lithium ion battery pack is built into the device, which allows for ‘continuous use.’
CUDA also much cheaper than traditional underwater propulsion technology, which can cost as much as $17,000, however, O’Brien hasn’t yet indicated what CUDA will be priced at
O’Brien coated the parts with epoxy resin and added silicone seals on the doors to the battery so that water can’t leak in.
They tested CUDA in pools and open water for months at a time and in close to freezing temperatures.
The extensive testing should help O’Brien get closer to making CUDA available to the public.
It’s also much cheaper than traditional underwater propulsion technology, which can cost as much as $17,000, however, O’Brien hasn’t yet indicated what CUDA will be priced at.
O’Brien coated the parts with epoxy resin and added silicone seals on the doors to the battery so that water can’t leak in. They also tested CUDA in pools and open water for months at a time
Users wear the jetpack like a backpack and only have to point their body in the direction they want to swim toward. It’s also more affordable than similar underwater propulsion devices
‘In short 3D printing allowed Archie to create a functional and robust prototype that previously wouldn’t of been possible with other manufacturing technologies for the same price or turnaround time,’ 3D Hubs said.
CUDA could have applications beyond the consumer, too, as O’Brien believes it could potentially be used in search and rescue efforts.
‘The speed means responders get on the scene and to those in need faster than current affordable solutions,’ according to 3D Hubs.
WHAT IS 3D PRINTING AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
First invented in the 1980s by Chuck Hull, an engineer and physicist, 3D printing technology – also called additive manufacturing – is the process of making an object by depositing material, one layer at a time.
Similarly to how an inkjet printer adds individual dots of ink to form an image, a 3D printer adds material where it is needed, based on a digital file.
Many conventional manufacturing processes involved cutting away excess materials to make a part, and this can lead to wastage of up to 30 pounds (13.6 kilograms) for every one pound of useful material, according to the Energy Department’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.
By contrast, with some 3D printing processes about 98 per cent of the raw material is used in the finished part, and the method can be used to make small components using plastics and metal powders, with some experimenting with chocolate and other food, as well as biomaterials similar to human cells.
3D printers have been sued to manufacture everything from prosthetic limbs to robots, and the process follows these basic steps:
· Creating a 3D blueprint using computer-aided design (CAD) software
· Preparing the printer, including refilling the raw materials such as plastics, metal powders and binding solutions.
· Initiating the printing process via the machine, which builds the object.
· 3D printing processes can vary, but material extrusion is the most common, and it works like a glue gun: the printing material is heated until it liquefies and is extruded through the print nozzle
· Using information from the digital file, the design is split into two-dimensional cross-sections so the printers knows where to put the material
· The nozzle deposits the polymer in thin layers, often 0.1 millimetre (0.004 inches) thick.
· The polymer rapidly solidifies, bonding to the layer below before the build platform lowers and the print head adds another layer (depending on the object, the entire process can take anywhere from minutes to days.)
· After the printing is finished, every object requires some post-processing, ranging from unsticking the object from the build platform to removing support, to removing excess powders.