Paddle Battle: 3D Printed Boats Race in Tiny Moats

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Paddle Battle: 3D Printed Boats Race in Tiny Moats
Crowds watch as boats race to the end of the moat.

Last weekend at World Maker Faire 2015, the team from Ocean State Maker Mill held the second running of the Moat Boat Paddle Battle. Beginning at Bay Area Maker Faire 2015, the Moat Boat Paddle Battle gives Makers of all ages the chance to show off their design and engineering skills by designing 3D printed paddle boats that are powered only by rubber bands. The racers compete in either a Youth (15 and under) or Open (all ages) class event with slightly modified rules for each class

World Maker Faire brought out some amazing racers with some very uniquely designed boats, and crowds of eager onlookers waiting to see who would be the fastest in the moats. A crowd favorite for its unique and well thought-out design was The Flying Fish from designer Nicholas Hoefly, who attempted to build a hydrofoil into his boat. Unfortunately, The Flying Fish’s elastic did not provide enough power to fully take advantage of the design. Hopefully we will see Hoefly back next year with improvements to his vessel.

The Flying Fish with its hydrofoil

The Digital Harbor Foundation from Baltimore, Maryland, and 3D printing heavyweight Ultimaker brought out teams of racers to compete in the Paddle Battle. These great teams couldn’t stand up to the Kawasaki family who dominated the races by wining both the Youth and Open classes.

Father Dan Kawasaki raced the Calibration Cuboat and had steep competition battling against 14 other competitors to end up in the finals against Electrode, designed and raced by young Luke Kushner. Luke was plenty young enough to compete in the Youth class races, but decided to step up to the Open class to build a more powerful boat and easily beat his older rivals to end up in the finals. After two tight races, Kawasaki’s speedy craft beat Electrode — but the drama didn’t end at the finish line. Kawasaki proved to not only be a formidable racer, but also an amazing and generous person when he gave his prize to young Luke, knowing that his son had already won the Youth class. In the end, both the Kawasaki and Kushner families went home with brand new 3D printers from the race’s sponsor SeeMeCNC, ending an amazing weekend in the moats.

The First And Second Place Winners Of Youth And Open Classes With Sponsor SeeMeCNC
The first and second place winners of Youth and Open classes with sponsor SeeMeCNC
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Matt is a community organizer and founder of 3DPPVD, Ocean State Maker Mill, and HackPittsburgh. He is Make's digital fabrication and reviews editor.

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