Want A Leak-Proof Camper? Better Fire Up The 3D Printer Now.

Ah, the great outdoors.  Rejuvenating air rife with mosquitoes and other nasties, and spending some time hanging out in the woods sleeping in a 3D printed camper. Wait– what was that last one again?

Yep, it’s exactly what it sounds like. A Canadian team headed by [Randy Janes] of Wave of the Future 3D, printed a camper at [Create Cafe] in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, using high-flow nozzles on one of the largest 3D printers in North America. These layers are 10.3mm thick!!

This trailer is one single printed piece, taking 230 hours — nine and a half days — of straight printing with only a few hangups. Weighing 600lbs and at 13 feet long by six feet wide — approximately 507 cubic feet, this beats the previous record holder for largest single piece indoor print in size by three times over.

As a prototype, this is an impressive feat, but what about going forward? [Janes] has said that he’s already been approached by buyers because of the prospect of completely customizeable design — this prototype can convert into an ice fishing hut — and boasts no seams which means no leaks! If you’ve never woken up to a soaked-through sleeping bag, it is not pleasant.

We can’t 3d print a whole car — yet — but we can produce replacement car and motorcycle parts and hack them into awesome near-future functionality.

[Thanks for the tip, Qes!]

32 thoughts on “Want A Leak-Proof Camper? Better Fire Up The 3D Printer Now.

    1. Its easy to get trailers approved for the road, the axles must be rated for the proposed load and the lights must work. The structure should be sturdy enough to hold the weight too but the rest of it is pretty inconsequential as long as its fastened down.

  1. A 230 hour print seems like a nightmare to manage. There have been a few 24 hr-ish prints that have taken weeks off my life. They never fail at hour 2. They like to go to hour 20 before something acts up.

    1. Agreed. The key is that 10 mm layer height – it means the nozzle diameter (and therefore wall thickness) is probably 12 mm or more of solid plastic, which is overkill^2. This is really not a shining example of a good 3D printing application. Also incredibly expensive.

      What is needed for larger-scale prints like this, is a way of printing hollow tubular layers. Think macaroni extrusion. These would form something like corrugated cardboard, which would use much less material while still being strong enough for applications like this.

        1. That whole bike camper could be printed in coroplast, more easily and with better results.

          Now I’m starting to think about “how”. Like, how to make an extruder for high flow (maybe an auger, using pellets), and a nozzle (maybe a ring of small holes?).

  2. “Rejuvenating air rife with mosquitoes and other nasties, and spending some time hanging out in the woods sleeping in a 3D printed camper…” you forgot towing said camper there with an average of 30mph, holding up all kinds of traffic.

    1. “This is going to come off line at roughly 600 to 700 pounds, and be stronger than anything in the industry,” Janes said. “You could pretty much fill it with water, let it sit for 10 years, empty it out and still use the trailer.”

      Does it need to be strong though? I agree that this isn’t a good application of large scale 3D printing. Maybe try to print something that actually needs to be filled with water for 10 years.

  3. I must be missing something here. What is the benefit? I’m sure a manufacturer could produce the shell of a traditional trailer in less than a week. I would hope so anyway. Also it seems like this wouldn’t make a stronger trailer, it might be more leak proof but it will still have windows and doors that will need seals of some kind. From a rapid prototyping standpoint, it seems like the rough layout of a trailer could be “prototyped” with masking tape and some 2x4s. Good enough to test the layout anyway.

    They mention in the article that is linked that this trailer doesn’t need a chassis. How so? Are chassis members designed into the print? If so I really wouldn’t want to be behind that thing on the road.

    They also mention in the article that the printer outputs layers that are 10.3mm high which is, according to them, “virtally twice the size a regular 3d printer”, so maybe they just have no idea what they’re talking about….

    Can you still buy fiberglass? Have we used up all the resources to make fiberglass? Why wouldn’t they make this design out of that? That is seamless and, once a mold is created, should take way less than a week.

  4. So what actually was the bottom line in this perversion of 3D printing? Roughly 240 kilos @$20 per kilo … So nearly $500 in materials and something like another $100 in electric.. I mean 10mm layers?! Just show me the nozzle heater. I bet it’s a modified 3KW broiler from an electric stove FFS!

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