Aug 3, 2012
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3d Printing sets sail

Mechanical engineering students at the University of Washington stunned and amused judges at the annual Milk Carton Derby in Seattle as they paddled their way to 2nd place in the worlds first 3d printed milk carton boat!

Taking a unique slant on the traditional Milk Carton Derby design regulations, the team at WOOF (Washington Open Object Fabricators) researched, designed and printed their boat almost entirely from recycled milk cartons. Weighing 40+ lbs the WOOF entry is the only boat that is 99% milk cartons, requiring some 250 one gallon milk jugs to produce.


Speaking on the project, Mark Ganter, professor of Mechanical Engineering stated “milk jug material is an awful material to work with. It shrinks, ┬áit curls, it doesn’t want to stick to itself. Overcoming all those parts of the problem was part of the achievement”. Following weeks of research and dumpster diving, the team received assistance from Scrapblasters who carried out controlled small batch shredding to produce a clean mix of only #2 HDPE milk jug plastic.

Using a home made extruder attached to a 4’x8′ plasma cutter the team were ready for their first test print. Having achieved success the next challenge lay ins scaling up the process while dealing with cost restrictions and shrinkage issues. Thankfully the team overcame the challenges in time to compete in the Milk Carton Derby!

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