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Project of the Week: 3D Print a Solar-Powered Open RC Boat

Want to spend the summer days sailing the seven seas and soaking up the sun? Thingiverse user UniversalMaker shows us how to build a 3D printed Open RC Boat equipped with solar panels.  

With summertime approaching and warm weather abound, it’s the perfect time to head over to your local body of water to lounge out, swim, and maybe even sail a remote controlled boat?

A German maker and Thingiverse user who goes by the name of UniversalMaker has revealed the Open RC Boat. The latest version is equipped with solar panels, made with 3D printed hull and electronics from Wavebreaker RC boat.

Started in 2012, the OpenRC Project has already taken the 3D printing world by storm, and was recently used to create a RC Formula 1 car by renowned maker Daniel Norée. Now, you can take this open source project to the high seas, soaking up energy from the sun while you cruise around with your RC boat.


Solar-Powered Open RC Boat: What do you Need?

The STL files for this 3D printable parts are freely available on Thingiverse, all of which should be printed at 20 percent infill. UniversalMaker also shares the .scad file to enable customization of the model on OpenSCAD.

If you want to build your own Open RC Boat with solar panels, here’s what else you’ll need:


Solar-Powered Open RC Boat: Putting it Together

The assembly process for the Open RC boat is surprisingly easy. First, use the customizer to select the parts you need. Print all of the parts, and then glue the main hull together and drill holes through the mounting plates so you can insert m3 screws.

Once you have the 3D printed hull glued together, it’s time to take the electronics out of a toy boat. Check out the photo below to see which components are used and where they are placed.


After the boat and electronics are assembled, use clear spray paint to make everything watertight, eliminating the porosity that FDM printing tends to create.

If you want to add the solar upgrade to the Open RC Boat, which is optional, there are some other parts you’ll need to 3D print. These 3D printed holders will be used to mount the solar panel to the boat.

Check out UniversalMaker’s YouTube video below for more detailed assembly instructions. He also shares some important information tips on the project’s Thingiverse page, so be sure to check that out while you’re downloading the STL files.

Happy sailing!

License: The text of “Project of the Week: 3D Print a Solar-Powered Open RC Boat” by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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