SkelETHon, the canoe whose formwork has been 3D printed

The Concrete Canoe Regatta is the biennial event which gathers together contestants from universities across Europe around a concrete canoe design competition partially 3D printed. A special emphasis is given to lightness, speed, design and innovation of canoes during this competition.

For this 26 th Concrete Canoe Regatta held in Cologne – Germany, more than 1000 participants were present to see a total of 90 concrete canoes perform in the Rhine. For the third consecutive year, the innovative ETH Zurich canoe, with a 3D printed formwork, received the first award for Design Innovation.

Called SkelETHon, the concrete canoe is the result of a collaboration between ETH Zurich, Digital Building Technologies (DBT) and PCBM Group. During the manufacturing, DBT provided its expertise in computer design and digital manufacturing, while PCBM Group was in charge with the development of concrete mixes and processes based on the construction of the boat.

The latter weighs 114 kg and is four meters long. It was manufactured using a great number of manufacturing techniques. The ETH team 3D printed a thin plastic formwork that was later thrown into a high-performance fiber-reinforced concrete material.

According to ETH, the construction process made possible a highly complex concrete skeleton with bones as thin as 15 millimetres in diameter which would be impossible to fabricate with any other digital fabrication technologies. 3D printing, a precious fabrication process, was used minimally, but had a significant impact on the overall design.”

Like the SkelETHon canoe, this event was characterized by the presentation of many other innovative canoes, designed using a 3D printing process. This new manufacturing method offers participants the possibility of proposing projects with particular designs.

We can therefore expect a 27th edition full of innovations.



Martial Y.

Passionate about new technologies, I am a mechanical engineer who possess a big interest in additive manufacturing. I believe the 3D printing is a technology of the future which is intented to take a great importance in our daily lives. Through this platform, the 3DAdept team aims at communicating on this technological innovation, creating and sharing tutorials videos on the handling of various CAD software.

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