Saskatoon

On the road: Saskatoon entrepreneurs set to create world's 1st 3D-printed camper

The world of high-tech is hitting the road this week as two Saskatoon businessmen set out to build the world's first camper made with a 3D printer.

Dustin Maki and Randy Janes have assembled largest 3D printer in North America to pull off engineering feat

A model of what the 3D-printed trailer will look like. (Submitted by Create Cafe)

The world of high-tech is hitting the road this week as two Saskatoon businessmen set out to build the world's first camper made with a 3D printer.

It won't be a simple task. To create the nearly four-metre-long, two-metre-high trailer, Dustin Maki and Randy Janes have assembled the largest 3D printer in North America.

"The printer is massive," said Create Cafe CEO Dustin Maki. "It took five guys to load all the pieces into the room. It's 28 feet by five feet by seven feet," he said — about 8.5 metres by 1.5 metres by two metres.

So why a camper? As it turns out, the 3D printer will create the trailer made of one solid chunk of plastic.

"One of the biggest things in the RV world is water damage," said Wave of the Future 3D owner Randy Janes. "Because of screws, wood, fibreglass — all these kinds of multiple joints and seams to put together. With 3D printing, I'm going to introduce a unibody camper trailer."

Janes has a long history in the world of recreational vehicles, working as a sales trainer and product specialist for more than 10 years.

"I knew all the ins and outs of RVs," he said. "When I was introduced to 3D printing three years ago, I thought, 'if I can build a trailer using this process, I would eliminate a lot of issues.'"

The team behind the project estimates it will take 10 days to finish the trailer, which will weigh between 270 and 320 kilograms. The average conventional trailer weighs 1,500 kilograms.

The team has assembled North America's largest 3D printer for the project. (Submitted by Saskatchewan Polytechnic)

As it turns out, the public will be able to watch the 3D printer chugging away on the project. The camper will be on display at Create Cafe while it's being built.

The group also plans on live streaming the process at noon every day to answer any questions people may have.

In the last several years, 3D printers have been used to build everything from houses to medical prosthetics. Generally, the printers shoot melted plastic out of a tiny nozzle controlled by a computer that can build anything from classical instruments to clothing.

"Ever since I've got into 3D printing, I've seen limitless potential," said Maki. "3D printing has been revolutionizing the way everything is being done."

If the project works out, Janes hopes to build a facility to make more trailers. The asking price for the first model will be $25,000.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic is also helping out on the project.

The team hopes to press the start button on Thursday.

With files from Saskatoon Morning