07 Mar 3D printing used to restore wheelhouse Kent Screen
Before COVID stopped much of our maintenance projects, volunteer Peter Brown noticed that the Kent Screen (windscreen wiper) on the wheelhouse needed repairing.
The rubber seal holding the Kent Screen frame in the glass has perished and was very fragile. As Covid restrictions started to relax one of our newer volunteers, Derek Holmes, agreed to undertake the refurbishment of the Kent Screen.
He quickly found out that the model we had was no longer in production and searches on ebay and boat salvage firms proved fruitless. He then contacted numerous companies who dealt with or manufactured rubber mouldings but there was no off the shelf product available. One company offered to produce the profile required but would only produce a minimum quantity of 60 metres and with a prohibitive price tag.
3D printing to the rescue!
Derek’s son had a 3D printer and suggested trying to see what he could do. Materials were obtained and the process was started. The size of the printer meant that the moulding would have to be made in 6 sections. A trial section was produced and fitted in situ and it was agreed to proceed further. Whilst the printing was going on Derek made some leather washers and plastic grommets, cleaned and polished the brass surround and fittings lacquered them and on Wednesday all the components were returned to the boat. They were installed with a temporary belt fitted (as the replacement that was ordered proved to be too small) and the motor switched on. After some small adjustments it ran quietly.
We’re glad to have the Kent Screen back on board and working, plus the use of new technology to help create parts which are no longer available or cost a premium to produce!
If you’re interested in helping with our on going maintenance, please get in touch or consider a regular donation as a subscriber!