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3D Printed Throttles Fuel Electric Boat Company's Success

When Andy sold his company and profited off the dot-com boom in the early 2000s, he did what any person in his position would do: he bought a house in Seattle on the lake. He would often smell gasoline from all the other boats on the lake, and wondered if there was a way to go electric. “I looked online and the only electric boats were five-mile-an-hour putt putt little things,” said Andy, “so I started Pure Watercraft.”

He looked for someone who could take care of all the electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, systems and controls engineering, and software, but decided that there wasn’t really a perfect person for the job. His dislike of gasoline coupled with his quest for a solution fueled him to do it himself. “Even though I'm not the right person, I'm as right as anybody,” said Andy. Pretty soon, the company began to grow.

Pure Watercraft raised over $2m in Series A funding, and started to build up its team. Engineers sent their initial designs for the Pure Outboard motor to a third-party 3D printing company, but found that it was too lengthy a process. They wanted a way to iterate on prototypes quickly. One employee had been working at a large, well-known electric car company before Pure Watercraft, and told Andy how the company used its Markforged printer far more than its $250,000 printer. This alone sold Andy on the idea that Markforged might be the best option for him.

Prototyping for beta testing was on the top of Andy’s list, and the Onyx Pro professional 3D printer was a perfect addition to the team’s design process. While the Pure Outboard motor’s hydraulic system fitting is printed out of carbon fiber, the team is currently working on 3D printing throttles instead of buying them off the shelf. They had previously sent parts out to a 3D printing company, but the turnaround time was eight days. Printing it in-house reduced that time to 24 hours. “There's a significant human factor element to a throttle. Someone has to hold it, it has to feel right,” said Andy, “being able to iterate quickly on different ideas for the throttle is what really made sense.”

The company has since hosted Washington Senator Maria Cantwell on one of its boats, with the Senator using the composite 3D printed throttle. Pure Watercraft can easily iterate and print a new watertight throttle for each customer to use on the beta unit, meaning they can get immediate feedback and keep redesigning until they have the perfect throttle.

The company says its Onyx Pro “paid for itself in a month,” and have just purchased an Onyx One to create even more parts, including propellers and other housings. We can’t wait to see what they print with their new Onyx One.

Interested in testing the strength of our carbon fiber material? Request a free sample part today!

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