Red Hooked Regatta: 3D printing and paddling by the Buttermilk Channel, Brooklyn

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Red Hook is a Brooklyn neighborhood that is off the subway path, torn away from the main Brooklyn heart by the filthy Gowanus Canal. Its skyline is otherwise stitched by the poorly named Expressway, where one can sit for hours admiring the pollution emitted from heavy trucks heading north and south around the lower bulb of Brooklyn. Unbelievably, I witnessed paddlers from my perch high above the Gowanus at a rare in-the-sky train station.

In other words, Red Hook, named for its ruddy soil, is a gem. And it is in Red Hook I have landed, overseeing work we won't bother discussing. Here the ubiquitous paper plate, free and careless in its twirling, gets to taste something other than the barbecue sauce staining it, for the wind gusts across the harbor are unbuffered. I would suggest 3D printing the plates out of iron and bolting them to husky picnic tables made of concrete. The weather I have witnessed at the water's edge in Red Hook, the white caps strolling across the Buttermilk Channel, make this downwind addict ache for a paddle.

Paddle? Isn't this a paddling blog? Indeed. And this May I finally got to put my R&D 3D printed paddle to the test in the mighty Hudson.  (Photo credit: Diana DeDomenico).

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That's a 3D printed Brooklyn Bridge blade!

One day I discovered a small t-shirt printing shop, and attracted by the literally "red hooked" shirts for sale, I wandered in and bought some. There was a 3D print of Cheech (from Cheech and Chong) wielding a plastic red hook, and before too long the proprietors and I were discussing Red Hook history and 3D printing. There was even a 3D print of the proprietor. Somehow I mentioned my 3D paddle and the two informed me they were going to be entering the Red Hook Regatta. Being a boat enthusiast, I needed to know more. I quickly added a 3D printed Red Hook key chain to my horde after I was informed it floats. This is now an easy to spot Hudson River friendly key chain. I also informed the 3D printing whiz of the duo that he should take a look at Simscale, so he could not only model a propeller out of the red hooks, as was his ambition, but model the fluid dynamics. Just what is the water doing when your paddle spears down into it? See image below, and see you on the water.

 This is what the water is doing on the "catch," when the blade is buried at the start of the stroke. Or at least the computer thinks so. What do you think?

This is what the water is doing on the "catch," when the blade is buried at the start of the stroke. Or at least the computer thinks so. What do you think?