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I have completed construction of a completely 3D printed, customized Kayak. The Kayak measures 16ft 8in [5.08m] long and cost around $500 to make. It is made of ABS plastic, machine screws, brass threaded inserts and a little bit of silicone caulk. That’s it. And it floats. And I can Kayak around in it. In order to print such large, solid sections of Kayak, I had to modify my home-built, large scale 3D printer to print the parts inside a heated chamber so they would not warp or crack.

The Kayak

The Kayak is comprised of 28, 3D printed sections. Each section has brass threaded thermoplastic inserts so the next corresponding section can be screwed into it. Silicone caulk is only used between the sections to ensure it is watertight. This design was initially based on the Siskiwit Bay kayak by Bryan Hansel, but heavily modified for 3D printing. The shape of the kayak was tweaked to optimize performance based on my height and weight. To reduce print time and material usage, the kayak is printed at a 0.65mm layer height. It features a 6mm thick hull with a built-in, internal rib/support structure to give it strength, yet be lightweight and use less ABS plastic. On the bow and stern of the Kayak I added attach points for cameras, handles and future add-ons.

Kayak Specs:

Spec Imperial Metric
Length 16ft 8in 5.08m
Width 1ft 8in 0.52m
Total Weight 64.58lbs 29.29kg
  • 3D Printed ABS Plastic Parts 58.15lbs 26.48kg
  • Screws 4.54lbs 2.068kg
  • Brass Threaded Inserts 1.89lbs 0.86kg
Print Time 1012.65 hrs [42.19 days]

Largest section of the kayak (#15) on the build plate

Inside the Heated Chamber during printing

Inside of Kayak, bolted sections and structure

Sealing section joints with silicone

Kayak on the dock

Kayak on the water

Kayaking

Kayaking

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On Friday I was a guest on the Fox Charlotte Morning show “Rising”


 

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Wednesday, March 9th 1983, 8:39pm MST was the exact moment that the very first 3D printed part ever was made. It was printed by my companies’ founder, Chuck Hull, using the 3D printing method he invented; Stereolithography (SLA). At CES this past January, I had the opportunity to meet Chuck’s lovely wife, who I learned was carrying that very part in a padded box in her purse! So, naturally I had to hold this very important piece of 3D printing history and get my picture taken with it :)

Holding The Very First 3D Printed Part. Ever.

This coming Saturday is March 9th 2013, and thus will mark the 30th anniversary of the birth of 3D printing. Since this little part was printed, Additive Manufacturing has come an incredibly long way; I can only imagine what the next 30 years will be like for this industry.

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