It’s not only the first of its kind in the world, but the largest indoor 3D print ever and it was created in Saskatoon.
The full-sized, 3D-printed camper trailer took just over 230 hours to complete with a special 3D printer at Create Cafe.
“It’s kind of surreal,” Randy Janes, owner of Wave of the Future 3D, said. “If you’re familiar with 3D printing, a little table top item that’s five inches tall can take upwards of one day. I just printed an entire trailer in just over a week.”
Despite a few hiccups in the process, including an unexpected software reboot, the team felt the process went fairly smooth for a prototype print.
“We had some mechanical difficulties, which is expected when you’re printing for over 230 hours,” Create Cafe CEO Dustin Maki said. “We were able to overcome those and bound together as a team.”
The camper is 13 feet long, just over six feet wide, weighing 600 pounds and it has a 100 year life expectancy.
“So it’s 3.5 times bigger than the previous world record and that’s because it’s done in one piece,” Maki said. “Nobody has ever accomplished a one piece print that’s of this stature.”
The trailer still needs to be fitted with appliances, electronics, and windows but it will soon be for sale on the commercial market.
“I’ve been contacted by dozens of different distributors throughout Canada asking how they can stock these in their stores,” Janes said. “Even guys that don’t like camping are loving the fact that this is the first trailer in the world for which you don’t have to have a chassis.”
The trailer can be removed from its base and placed on stilts to sit in a more permanent position. The camper can also convert to an ice-fishing hut, with three covered holes in the floor.
Janes hopes to develop different versions in the future including a 16 foot, a 19 foot and truck bed models.
“The 16-footer will be a little bit wider and a little bit taller,” Janes said. “If I can pull that one off, realistically I’ll be breaking my world record again.”
Dubbed “The Wave,” the camper was printed in one piece, with the high-flow printing nozzles used for the project coming from Saskatchewan Polytechnic.
“We’ve been doing 3D printing for 23 years at Sask Polytech, and in that time we’ve never seen a project this huge,” Tim Muench, program head for the mechanical engineering technology programs at Saskatchewan Polytechnic, said. “We were very excited to be involved in this project.”
The layers of plastic that make up the trailer are 10.3 millimetres, virtually double the size of the beading in a normal 3D print.
In order to produce parts that big, you have to flow some really high amounts of plastic through a nozzle,” Muench said. “The size difference between the nozzle you’ll see on a regular printer is really huge.”
Now, a pair of students at the school are working on a research project for ways to reduce vibration during the print, so the crew at Create Cafe can print more trailers in a shorter time frame.
“As we move forward we’re hoping to get them down to less than a week per print,” Maki said.
The trailer will be on display at Create Cafe throughout the week, and the team is hoping to bring it to the Saskatoon Sports and Leisure show at the beginning of March.