Absolutely! If you want to buy a kayak but can’t swing the cost, you can easily 3D print one. That’s what Jim Smith of Grass Roots Engineering did. He designed and built his yak from scratch with ABS plastic, brass threaded inserts, machine screws, and a bit of silicone. The whole project cost him around $500 and took over 40 days to complete. And as you can guess, printing something that large couldn’t be done on a typical desktop Makerbot.
Smith had to modify his own large-scale 3D printer and print the parts in a heated chamber to make sure that the ABS didn’t deform, crack, or warp.So, yes, you can 3D print a kayak. In fact, with the cost of 3D printing decreasing day in day out, there will be more uses. A 3D printed house. A 3D printed car. Who knows, there could be time when it makes more cost sense to print a snow shovel than buying a new one from a store!
And with 3D printing platforms like Cults in the picture, the future looks even more promising for consumers. Cults provides a digital marketplace where you can download free, open-source, or paid 3D printer models to use with your 3D printer. Not only that. You get an opportunity to learn from the best designers in the industry. The Cults community will get you figuring out the best paintings for your 3D printing, the most effective software solutions for 3D designs, and such like things that will make your 3D modeling journey a success.
Factors To Consider When 3D Printing Your Kayak
1. Cost And Time
Create a checklist of all the items, parts, and tools you need. Some parts will be easy and cheap to obtain and if that’s the case, it wouldn’t make any sense spending your time designing them. A majority of these are as a result of years and years of hard work and we all can’t pretend to develop them better than the engineers. If you can find an inexpensive part that is ready to print and that saves you hours of frustration, go for it. You will need that time to design the more complex models for your 3D printed kayak.
2. Instant Gratification
Time consideration aside. Some of us are just not patient, or sometimes life and timelines will get in the way and mess up the creation of your boat parts. If you can’t wait around for a part to be successfully completed, just buy it.
You want to make your watercraft the way you want it, so do not sacrifice features that you feel are important to you. If there are parts you really need but can’t find readymade models for sale or no such products even exist, consider designing them.
Your Iterative Yak Design
Once you have established a plan for what you want to do, go through the list of all your parts and check the ones you need to print. If you can, create two lists from the original, one with the parts you need to print and ones with those you plan to buy. This will make your path clear and obtaining the materials much easier.
The entire process of 3D printing your kayak starts with an idea. Think about your wants and hopes and what you intent to achieve, as this will manifest through you as well as the parts and tools you choose to build the end product.
Knowing your skillset and tools’ abilities will also be important at this phase, as this will give you the confidence you need to utilize their full potential. Take some time to learn how a tool or part works so you can use it right and avoid inhibiting the printing process.
With everything you need at your disposal, start creating. Keep in mind, however that things may not work out the way you wished, so the capability to fix a problem or adapt a design is imperative when you are developing a part yourself.
While building the raw structure for your 3D printed kayak, the printer will be the main tool. Nevertheless, once that’s done, you may need to tweak the design or make some alterations to some parts to make sure the end product looks and works the way you want.
After you have printed one of the parts, try using it as you planned. Check to see that it fits snuggly and is sturdy enough to handle any accidental force. Create a test for how you intend the part to perform and make sure it passes, taking into consideration potential pitfalls and problems.
Setting tests for your printed parts will help you figure out if the parts function properly as they are or you need to make new better versions. If there will be any necessary changes, make them and then perform the same test until you are completely satisfied with what you have created.
At the end of the day, you will need to be confident in your 3D printing and the parts’ ability to function as per your expectations. If a part does not work properly or totally, then you could lose functionality while on the water. You don’t want this especially if you can’t swim or haven’t brushed up your kayak self-rescue techniques.
Having backups can help you reduce the chances for failure. And if you are 3D printing your kayak in preparation for a coming paddling event, then taking the final product for a spin regularly to test the parts will help you identify any potential problems and ensure that everything works fine for you on the D-day.
In A Nutshell
Building a functional 3D printed kayak is possible and actually easier than many people think. The secret is having a good plan so everything is clear from the word go. And once you start printing, make the parts as sturdy as possible and ensure they pass all the performance tests you have set. Also, inspect your kayak regularly to ascertain that everything is in good shape.