Design of the Week: OceanGate Titan Submersive

By on July 3rd, 2023 in Design, news

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3D printed replica of the OceanGate Titan submersible (painted) [Source: Printables]

This week’s selection is the OceanGate Titan Submersive by designer Tobi Takenn.

This 3D model is a replica of the ill-fated Titan submersible, which unexpectedly collapsed recently while on a tour expedition to the wreck of the Titanic at the bottom of the Atlantic.

The submersible carried five people during the unfortunate incident, including the CEO of OceanGate, the company behind the mission.

While the multinational investigation into the incident continues, it seems pretty clear this vehicle was not properly designed nor tested for this extreme use. There are countless reports of inadequate design features, materials, procedures and more, which more than likely contributed to the incident.

It’s one thing to cut corners in an effort to achieve efficiency, and another to do that when people are put at risk, which seems to be the case here.

We no longer have the Titan itself, as its wreckage was collected from the ocean floor last week. But we do have this decent 3D model of the craft.

There are several 3D representations of the Titan available online in the usual repositories, but I selected this one because it seemed to be closest in design to the actual vehicle.

CAD view of the Titan submersible [Source: Fabbaloo]

3D printing the Titan could be tricky. While the 3D model is a single piece, it has plenty of spindly bits that will prove challenging to print. There is no flat surface to orient upon, and you’ll most likely have to use a considerable amount of support material to get this item printed successfully.

I considered recommending using a resin 3D printer for the Titan due to its geometry, but then I realized that the large pressure section would have to be hollowed to save resin, and include a drain hole to allow liquid resin to escape during printing. Having a hole in your submersible is not a good idea.

OceanGate Titan submersible 3D printed with organic supports [Source: Fabbaloo]

Use of organic / tree support structures on the Titan for FFF 3D printing is advisable, otherwise you will use too much material.

Finally, if you are considering 3D printing the Titan in carbon fiber material, please be certain it isn’t expired.

Via Printables

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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