The Printtron’s build plate. [Image: Create Cafe via Facebook]

At Create Cafe in Saskatoon, Canada, patrons can sit and enjoy a cup of coffee while using the café’s 3D printers. Having opened a year ago, the café has certainly seen a fair share of objects 3D printed on its premises, but nothing like what’s about to be printed there. In addition to the ordinary desktop 3D printers at Create Cafe, the establishment also houses the largest 3D printer in North America – the 28′ x 5′ x 7′  Printtron. The largest object the massive 3D printer has printed so far has been 82 cubic feet, but starting tomorrow, the Printtron will begin 3D printing a camper that will ultimately measure a little over 500 cubic feet.

Randy Janes, owner of Wave of the Future 3D, worked in RV sales for several years before getting into 3D printing, and so he’s no stranger to customer complaints. Many of them were of the same variety – water damage.

“One of the biggest things in the RV world is water damage,” said Janes. “Because of screws, wood, fibreglass — all these kinds of multiple joints and seams to put together. With 3D printing, I’m going to introduce a unibody camper trailer…I knew all the ins and outs of RVs. When I was introduced to 3D printing three years ago, I thought, ‘if I can build a trailer using this process, I would eliminate a lot of issues.'”

It will be the first camper to be 3D printed, and it’s being 3D printed all in one piece, with no seams, nails, screws or any wood anywhere in the trailer.

“This is going to come off line at roughly 600 to 700 pounds, and be stronger than anything in the industry,” Janes said. “You could pretty much fill it with water, let it sit for 10 years, empty it out and still use the trailer.”

Randy Janes and Create Cafe CEO Dustin Maki [Image: Rosalie Woloski/CBC News]

The 13-foot-long camper will have a life expectancy of about 100 years. It can be removed from its base and set on stilts for a more permanent position, and it can also double as an ice fishing shelter with three covered holes in the floor.

The 3D printing process is expected to take 10 to 14 days, and will be happening right in the middle of Create Cafe, so patrons can watch. Create Cafe will also be live-streaming the printing from its Facebook page. The giant, high-flow nozzles that will be 3D printing the camper have been provided by Saskatchewan Polytechnic.

It may be a world first, but this project is no gimmick – it may be the start of a new business and, possibly, a new way of manufacturing campers. The camper, which has been named The Wave, will be sold for $25,000, and if that works out, Janes wants to build a facility to 3D print and sell more of the campers. It’s a great example of how 3D printing can solve problems that have always been present with traditional manufacturing, and it’s possible that 3D printing could eventually become the new industry standard if this project works out.

[Image: Adam MacVicar/Global News]

In the meantime, check in to Facebook over the next couple weeks to see how this historical 3D print is coming along – or, if you’re near Saskatoon, stop by Create Cafe to watch it happening in person.

[Source: Global News/CBC News]

 

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