3D printer by Sask. man gets record crowdsourced cash

A Saskatchewan man who has developed an affordable 3D printer has attracted worldwide attention and over $700,000 in crowdsourced funding.

Innovator creates affordable device using sound and lasers

Canadian invents affordable 3D printer

9 years ago
Duration 2:55
A Saskatchewan inventor is making 3D printers on the cheap.

A Saskatchewan man who has developed an affordable 3D printer has attracted worldwide attention and more than $700,000 in crowdsourced funding.

Rylan Grayston, 28, from Yorkton, said curiosity fuelled his quest to create a 3D copier that sells for just $100. Other high-tech 3D printers sell for several thousand dollars or more.

"I didn't have enough money for a 3D printer that I wanted, so I just started thinking about how can I do this myself?" Grayston told CBC News in an interview at a shop in Saskatoon where he is working with his brother on the project.

"All I want to do is invent," Grayston said about the possible riches associated with an affordable 3D printer. "I would love to have lots of money so I can pull off my other inventions.… I don't want to buy a yacht. I won't be buying any fancy cars."

Although Grayston has no formal training in engineering or computer science, he has been a tinkerer all his life.

Grayston's software converts an object into file data using a sound card on his laptop. The information on that audio file is sent to electromagnetic mirrors and laser beams that vibrate and move in accord with the data to build 3D objects from a specialized acrylic resin.

Unlike other more expensive devices, Grayston's Peachy Printer has no motors or microprocessors.

With marketing help from Nathan Grayston, 22, a YouTube video introducing their 3D printer kit attracted a total of $720,000 in crowdsourced money, the bulk of that from the online entrepreneur support network Kickstarter.

Experts impressed

Grayston's approach to creating the machine has impressed experts in the field.

"It blows my mind," David Gerhard, a computer science professor at the University of Regina, told CBC News. "The way that they're doing things is so sort of different from the way normal 3D printers work, that it's quite amazing to see the shift in thinking."

As part of the crowdsourcing agreement, Grayston has about 5,000 prepaid orders for kits.

He said his version was inspired by information he found online, so he's not filing for patent protection. He is also posting his plans on the internet.

"It completely changes the game," Gerhard said of the machine he saw first-hand, in Yorkton. "To be able to do it for a hundred bucks and basically with stuff you can find around your house, that's the thing that changes everything."

With files from CBC's Bonnie Allen


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?