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3D Printed Parts for Ocean

Thinking about making some 3D printed parts for the BR2 ROV for use offshore. Wondering if anyone has experience using parts made of PLA. Any other filament materials you might recommend?

Yes, we’ve had great results. Obviously the method/materials has it’s limitations, but for rapid prototyping and even engineered parts that don’t need an injection moulded finish, it can be really useful.

We’ve mostly used PLA for simple non-critical designs. Was initially concerned, but with careful design, the parts work well. Did an immersion test for a few weeks with no noticeable change to strength/weight etc.

Have also used an aluminium blend which Shapeways do. Very strong but expensive.

We have also used ABS, which is harder to print, but apparently absorbs less water (though we never really had an issue with the PLA). Would probably recommend ABS simply because that’s what the experts say is most suitable, but as I mentioned, even PLA seems to work pretty well. From what I read, nylon may be the worst (most moisture absorption).

Thanks for the feedback. Just looking to make things like light brackets, or electrical housing cradles etc. Sounds like PLA should be sufficient.

I have used ABS extensively and it works great. One thing to keep in mind is that most parts are mostly hollow, depending on what infill you use for printing. This hollow area will hold air and then slowly get replaced by water. Depending on the size of your part and how much water/air displacement there is, you can get some slight changes in balance of the ROV. Also, when you take the ROV out of the water, that water inside the parts slowly leaks out and drips for a while. You can’t simply dry off the ROV and put it away as water will continue to escape.

I use PETG with a good result. PLA is degradet by sunlight and ABS is not too healthy when printing.

I use 100 % infill for under water parts, since pressure will affect hollow parts.

I agree PETG is preferred for use in water and at depth, and with the 100% infill…more expensive and harder to get settings right initially than ABS or PLA. We typically use PLA for prototyping, ABS for our terrestrial UAS, and PETG for anyting going in water…

Hello Everyone

I have made tests with PLA, ABS,Nylon and PETG and the best results was ABS but the thin was 5mm and 100% infill, when I tried a thin less than 5mm, the water passed throught the wall and I exposed it for 24 hours to one meter depth. If you are thinking to use a 3d printer for the electronic enclosure I suggest to use resine in you wall for avoid the water filtration but if it is for another part any material will work perfectly but I prefer PETG.

Hi everybody,

we have used Carbon Fiber Nylon for wet components and we are very happy for the strength. We are planning to try Carbon Fiber PC in next weeks for enclosure test and we hope to have good results. We print 100% infill and in very temperature (+290 Celsius) because Carbon Fiber PC is a very exotic material. I will let you know about the results of our tests.


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Nice, I have been wanting to try this material, looks great. Do you print this yourself? And if so, what machine?


thank you Marcus. We print in house using a FUNMAT HT. It is an expensive printer but it prints everything in a great quality!


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