A Saskatoon 3-D printing company quietly made history last week.
The world’s largest 3-D print was completed Feb. 16 at Create Cafe 3D Printing on Circle Drive as part of a combined effort with Wave of the Future 3D and Saskatchewan Polytechnic.
It’s the brainchild of Wave of the Future 3-D owner Randy 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.
The print was done using an ErectorBot 3-D printer housed at Create Cafe. Nicknamed “Printron,” the unit is the only one of its kind in Canada and is the largest 3-D printer in North America.
Janes hopes to soon upgrade to a facility where he can begin mass producing campers.
The prototype is 13-feet long, but Janes hopes to introduce 16 and 19-foot versions of the camper in the future.
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 dialled 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.”