At Cobra Ribs, we utilise a wide range of technology to build our products. Here, our team provides an insight into their tools of the trade.
Will Hammick – Head of Design
The Artec Leo 3D Scanner
The Leo is a portable scanner which has a data acquisition speed of up to 35million points/second, and a 3D point accuracy of up to 0.1mm.
It operates by projecting light in a pattern, usually in the form of multiple parallel beams, onto an object. By projecting a grid pattern on the object, the scanners can capture the deformation or distortion from multiple angles and then calculate the distance to specific points on the object using triangulation. The three-dimensional coordinates obtained are used to digitally reconstruct the real-world object.
To aid the high accuracy, the Leo utilises a built-in 9 Degrees of Freedom inertial system, with accelerometer, gyro and compass, so Leo always understands its physical position and surroundings.
You can follow the scan progress on your mobile phone or tablet using the scanner’s IP address, here it creates a real time 3D model displaying textures and colours of the part. Once the scan is completed the file is imported into Artec Studio where we tidy up the file, reduce the size and correct mistakes. This can then be exported to be used in a 3D modelling software like Rhino.
In Design we use the Leo to gather accurate data of parts and spacings to reduce reverse engineering time, as well as gather moulding data from handmade mould tools. We have used it in the past as a non-intrusive measuring method, as well as a quality assurance tool.
The 3D Printer Process
The 3D printing process enables users to slice 3D models and manufacture them as physical objects in a variety of materials. CAD files are imported into a slicing software which separates the design into sequential layers. These layers create a tool path for the extruders to follow and deposit melting filament from the nozzles. As the plastic cools, it builds the desired object from the base upwards.
Benefits of having a 3D Printer at Cobra Ribs
The Ultimaker S5 we have at Cobra Ribs allows the design team to quickly manufacture prototypes, templates, and production end parts across all of our boat ranges. This is often more cost effective and quicker than outsourcing the design and having to wait for lead times. 3D printing with PVA as a support material makes the machine extremely versatile as we can create any complex shape with internal baffles, overhangs, or radiuses by dissolving the PVA structure away from the final solid part in water. Some examples of end parts fitted to our Ribs include the dorade boxes featured on the 8.4m Patronus and Scanstrut Rokk dash on the Nautiques.
Shannon Gammell – Junior Design Engineer
Advantages of having access to highly technical and complex pieces of machinery
Cobra Ribs having access to new forms of technology and machinery helps to drive continuous innovation within design & engineering. The use of the 3D printer, 3D scanner and CNC machine enhances our abilities to digitally design with a greater level of accuracy in developing new, innovative solutions.
By having access to new technology, it enables us save time, money and material while resulting in higher quality finished parts. Through investment, we maintain a competitive edge to adapt to the constant developments within technology, improving our manufacturing abilities to increase productivity and efficiency.
My favourite piece of machinery is the 3D printer as it enables a greater level of design freedom and manufacturing ability. The 3D printer makes it possible to create highly complex shapes which can then be tested and iterated very quickly within a relatively short amount of time. The technology helps to communicate ideas with ease and makes it possible to constantly innovate solutions.
Christian Rigio - CNC Operator
The CNC Machine
A CNC Router (Control Numerical Controller) is a machine which performs the process of cutting and shaping to flat surfaces. Using CNC along with computers, allows the operator to design tool paths through flat surfaces, select the right tool for the different material to cut, and configure the cutting parameters like speeds and depth.
The CNC Router can cut a broad range of materials. Here at Cobra we use the CNC to cut materials such as foam, marine plywood or harder materials such as perplex (acrylic) and hardened resin (the material we use to build the hull). This gives us a great advantage of being able to build the boats at our headquarters.