Faced with the heatwave, why not enjoy the 3D printed jetpack?
During this period of intense heat, here is a perfect product for the summer: the CUDA underwater jetpack. A 3D printed jetpack. And more precisely: its assembly includes 45 3D printed parts. Designed by Archie O’Brien as part of his design degree studies at Loughborough University, this aquatic device will propel you through the water at speed.
When Archie realised that a SeaBob costs $17,000, he decided to create a similar, but much more accessible, system. So he came up with a backpack fitted with an electric motor, a practical and lightweight accessory for faster swimming and underwater exploration. He turned to 3D printing to produce some of the CUDA’s parts, working with the service bureau 3D Hubs. He explains:
“My first idea was to scale down a jetski motor into a jetpack. After conducting some research, I realised that it would be better to create a sort of backpack, which is easier to produce and carry.”
A functional 3D printed prototype
Once the design of the backpack had been completed, an initial prototype was quickly produced using various production methods, notably 3D printing and CNC machining. 45 of the CUDA’s parts are 3D printed (excluding batteries and electronics). Several 3D technologies were used, including fused deposition modelling and stereolithography.
With the support of 3D Hubs and an SLS printer, the 3D printed jetpack turbine was born. The company used a carbon fibre reinforced powder for extra strength. Archie was therefore able to obtain a functional and robust prototype. The object could not have been obtained using other production technologies at a comparable price or within the same production leadtimes.
To ensure that the backpack is waterproof, Archie used certain supplementary materials:
- All 3D printed parts are coated in a fine layer of epoxy resin
- Access ports to the electronics are sealed with silicon to prevent water penetration
An easy-to-handle underwater jetpack
To operate the CUDA, you just need to point your body in the desired direction and speed is controlled using a hand-held device. The device has currently been tested in swimming pools, with encouraging results: no leaks or deterioration have been detected. This does not replace scientific testing, but it’s a great start!
The first CUDA models are scheduled to be launched in Q2 2019. The jetpacks should have an impact beyond just water sports. Its uses could include sea rescue and emergency response at beaches. The CUDA actually offers higher speeds than existing solutions. One thing is certain: we will be following the progress of this ambitious and refreshing project with great interest!