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Tel: 01244 422007

World’s first 3D printed kayak unveiled

An American engineer has produced what is thought to be the world’s first canoe using a 3D printer.

Created at a cost of $500 (£300), the kayak was made from 28 individually printed sections of Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) lightweight plastic – often used for white-water canoes.

Though reasonably priced for a standard kayak, the innovation did require a lot of time and effort to create.

The craft, which was made completely watertight with silicone caulk, appears to have a colourful ‘patchwork’ design due to its composition.

Explaining how he created the kayak to perfectly suit his own weight and height, Jim Smith said on his Grass Roots Engineering blog:

“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.”

The whole process, which used a total of 26kg of materials, took the engineer 42 days to completely print on his 3D machines.

That is considerably longer than it takes to jump in a hired kayak for trips in Chester, but it does show just how effectively the swiftly developing, cutting-edge technology can produce something that mankind has been making for millennia.

A pioneer for 3D printing, Mr Smith’s creation is certainly not something that just anyone could produce easily. However, even novice paddlers can quickly take to the water and get kayaking in and around Cheshire.