A product design student in UK has designed a futuristic underwater jetpack that can propel a swimmer at speeds of up to eight miles per hour. Called CUDA, the jetpack was made entirely using 3D printed materials.
Archie O'Brien, a design student at Loughborough University, said the 3D printed underwater jetpack project started as a part of a student project and it took him just a year to design and build a functional prototype.
O'Brien's original idea was to shrink down a jet ski engine so that it could be worn as a jetpack. After learning that similar underwater propulsion devices were either too slow or too expensive (can cost as much as $15,000) and weigh over 30kg, O'Brien decided to develop his own propulsion system. He worked with 3D printing company 3D Hubs to build CUDA.The final design is made up of 45 3D printed parts, and most of the components were printed using low cost PLA materials and FDM technology. All 45 3D printed components were coated in a thin layer of epoxy resin and doors to the rechargeable batteries and electronics were treated to silicone seals so that water can't leak in. The CUDA can be assembled in less than 10 minutes under water.
The device's impeller, or a rotating mechanism that powers the centrifugal pump, was SLS printed using carbon fiber-infused powder, giving it the "extreme stiffness needed for such parts."CUDA operates similar to a jet ski. The speed of the Cuda prototype is controlled by a handheld trigger system. "Steering is similar to an airplane, as you need a certain amount of speed before you can effectively turn," 3D Hubs explained. With its own patented propulsion system CUDA is the fastest Underwater Jetpack in the world.
So far the CUDA has been tested in swimming pools and open water pools. 3D Hubs claim that, after testing the jet by leaving it in water for months and close to freezing conditions, the 3D printed parts doesn’t show any issues with leakage or deterioration.O'Brien has plans to develop the product further before building a brand. He now aims to take the Cuda into production during Q2 2019. However he hasn't yet indicated what CUDA will be priced at. Over the years, releasing several products in the market, his aim in the future is to become the market leader in recreational propulsion water sports.