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NavLab: the first digital community workshop for yachts in Antibes

The recently opened NavLab is the first lab where visitors can learn how to use high-tech marine and yachting tools, such as 3D printers and CNC millers for their own projects. Based on FabLabs, which are labs targetted for generic skills, the Navlab focuses specifically on the boating and yachting industries.

Opened last summer in Antibes, the NavLab is a brand new place offering visitors coworking spaces, workshops, tools and the chance to learn skills, right in the town centre of Antibes, only 10 minutes walking distance from the port.

Bruno Messin, the founder and first "FabManager" of the NavLab commented, "When I was crossing oceans on board M/Y Ecstasea, my daily task as ETO was to maintain various systems and make sure I had the right spare parts on board. Unfortunately, a lot of suppliers won't have the parts you need, which can result in extra costs and time for the boat to fix something. With todays technologies, especially 3D printing, you can now come to the NavLab and make the part you need, on demand."

Furthermore, Bruno's idea goes beyond this service, suggesting that superyachts may soon have a 3D printer on board so they can manufacture spare parts while at sea. He continued, "It gives more flexibility to the boat and a better reactivity to maintain systems for the owner. It is also smart; with a 3D printer on board, you can drastically reduce the amount of spare parts taken on board, thus saving a lot of fuel and storage space."

According to Navlab, with metal 3D printing becoming cheaper and more and more efficient, it will soon be possible to print engine parts directly on board your vessel, downloading the 3D model using a V-Sat connection from the constructor or a management company. This is why new generations of engineers may need to learn how to use 3D printers, as they can do in NavLab; every Friday from 5pm to 7pm.

According to NavLab, the lab is not only a place where yachties can learn 3D printing, it is also a place of innovation. Entrepreneurs, start-ups and inventors meet at the NavLab to share knowledge, create teams and work on projects.

More information, visit NavLab.

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