Come October, the largest 3D printer in the world will be installed at the University of Maine in Orono. One of its first uses will be to print a boat mold that boat builders can use. The substance behind the 3D printing operation will be a wood-based plastic developed at UMaine.
The boat mold is one of the first objectives of a new, bio-based 3D printing program that’s a collaboration between the University of Maine and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The hope is that the initiative could make 3D printing more useful in manufacturing while reinvigorating Maine’s forest products industry by finding new uses for wood-based products.
UMaine and Oak Ridge received $20 million in federal funds for the program, Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, and Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander said Thursday during an announcement in Washington, D.C. Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Daniel Simmons and Habib Dagher, the founding executive director of UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center, also participated in the announcement.