3D Printing for Oil Rig model
A 1:100 scale model of the Ivar Aasen oil rig platform was commissioned by Norwegian company Det Norske who is responsible for extracting oil and gas from the North Sea. It was constructed as the centre piece of Det Norske’s stand at the Offshore Northern Seas 2014 annual show held in Stavangar, Norway. The platform consists of the leg structure known as the ‘jacket’ and platform deck, or ‘topsides’ as it’s referred to, as well as a helideck and control room. The seven decks cover a total are 3,300 square metres and the aluminium living quarters will contain 70 single cabins.
The steel jacket will have a height of 138 metres and be installed at a depth of 112 metres during the first six months of 2015 and the platform deck will be lifted into place during the first six months of 2016. The total weight of the oil rig platform is around 15,000 tonnes (dry weight).
Plastic 3D printing was selected for two main reasons; cost and timescale. Traditional model making would have taken a year to produce the model and cost many times more than 3D printing. Furthermore, the detail achievable with superb accuracy is unrivalled using the Nylon sintering process over some other options which were considered, such as FDM and Stereolithography.
The resulting model was so accurate and intricate, you could even see the toilets through open doors within the superstructure and small items like the anodes and railings were all faithfully reproduced directly from the CAD design. Due to the size of the scale model being over 8 foot in height, it had to be designed in sections and fitted together after it had been built as seamlessly as possible.
The jacket was made in 8 pieces and the topsides structure in 5 main blocks with sub-assemblies such as cranes, lifeboats, heli-deck and mast structures as separate add-ons. Because the model was shipped from the UK the sub-assemblies had to be made separately so that they could be attached after unpacking at the ONS Show in Norway.
The model is now on display at Det Norske HQ in Trondheim in their reception area.
The original 3D CAD files provided by the customer came through as one complete model so 3T’s in-house CAD specialists had to segment the design into 8 pieces to enable each part to fit into the build chamber of their P390 sintering machines. Once built, the model had to be assembled and 3T’s specialist finishers ensured the joins were as seamless as possible.
Furthermore, as the periphery pieces such as the cranes, lifeboats, heli-deck and mast structures were built as separate add-ons, they had to have additional pins added to the CAD design so that they could be assembled at the show in Norway. In total, 3T’s in-house teams spent in excess of 40 hours modifying the CAD design and carrying out the post-assembly work.