If the honor of being the first 3D printed full-size boat would probably have to go to the Washington Open Object Fabricators (WOOF) team’s 3D printed milk jug race project back in Seattle in 2012, this is one of the more successful larger-than-a-human scale objects I’ve seen yet!
Full-sized, 3D-Printed Kayak! Created by Grass Roots Engineering:
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 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….
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! We also offer the MakerBot Digitizer in our store. If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!