The world’s largest 3-D print was completed February 16,2018 at Create Cafe 3D Printing in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
The largest item 3D-printed indoors as a single piece, a full-size camper made of plastic, was part of a combined effort with Wave of the Future 3D and Saskatchewan Polytechnic.
“It’s kind of surreal,” said Randy Janes, owner of Wave of the Future 3D, who organized the print.
“If you’re familiar with 3D printing, a little tabletop item that’s 5 inches tall can take upwards of one day. I just printed an entire trailer in just over a week.”
The camper (called The Wave) took just over 230 hours to complete.
It is 13 feet long, weighs 600 pounds, and should have a life expectancy of 100 years, according to Janes.
“It’s been a long time that I’ve been working on this product and this design of the trailer,” he said.
“This is definitely a big learning curve.”
Most of that learning curve was on display for the world to see with a live stream posted on Create Cafe 3D Printing’s Facebook and Youtube pages, in addition to extending business hours for patrons.
“I could have either did it all behind closed doors or allow everybody to kind of follow along and learn with us and we decided to open source it and allow people to learn as we were going through it,” Janes said of the live stream.
Janes, also a co-founder of Create Café, printed the camper with PETG pellets on the massive ErectorBot 3-D printer. Nicknamed “Printron,” the unit is 28 feet by 5 feet by 7 feet printer that lays claim to being the largest 3-D printer in North America.
The team used high-flow printing nozzles from Saskatchewan Polytechnic to create the large 10.3mm layers used for the build.
“So it’s 3.5 times bigger than the previous world record and that’s because it’s done in one piece,” said Create Café CEO Dustin Maki.
“Nobody has ever accomplished a one-piece print that’s of this stature.”
Janes plans to sell the trailer once it is outfitted with appliances and windows.
Because the camper is not built on a chassis, it can be placed on stilts for permanent installation, or used as an ice-fishing hut.
Janes previously worked in the RV industry, and says the Wave solves one of the biggest problems with existing camper designs—they are very expensive, and inevitably leak.
Janes plans to print both 16-foot and 19-foot versions of the Wave in the future, as well as a truck-bed version.
The previous record for the largest indoor print was held by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (a tool used on Boeing airplane wings). Oak Ridge provided support and assistance with the Create Café print.
Due to the publicity from the livestream, Janes began fielding calls from all over the world including house-boat companies looking to use Janes’ innovation.
Like any prototype project, the print wasn’t without its hiccups and setbacks.
“It’s a learning curve on how the plastics react,” Janes said. “The biggest thing we’re learning is that our line adhesion when we have everything dialed in is second to none.”
Visitors will notice some slight blemishes where the printer was stopped or paused during the 10-day print, but Janes added that those imperfections have already been corrected for the second trial of printing.
Now that the print work is done, the roughly 700-pound camper will move to Oak Centre RV Mall in Martensville, where it will be fitted with a furnace, stove, and other appliances before being put on permanent display there.
Even with such a big accomplishment, the simple things aren’t lost on Janes.
“As of right now while I’m doing this interview, I’m standing inside of a 3-D-printed object as it’s being 3-D printed,” said Janes.
“That’s not something that’s done very often out there.”
What would life be like if we had no courage to attempt anything.
—Vincent Van Gogh