Planning a road trip this summer? Why not 3D print your very own camper van to go in? That is what a team of enthusiasts from Canada just demonstrated. Created over the course of nine days, and requiring hundreds of feet of plastic 3D-printing filament, their world record-breaking 3D printed camper has a volume of 507 cubic feet, and measures in at 13 feet by 6.5 feet with a height of 6 feet. That is more than three times bigger than the previous world record and easily big enough to sleep in.
Making it more impressive is the fact that it was printed in one piece. This was achieved through the team’s use of a custom-built ErectorBot 3D printer, measuring a massive 28 feet by 8 feet by 7 feet. The big printer is nicknamed “Printron,” and enables large-scale prints such as this one.
“For this project we used PETG plastic which is the same plastic as pop bottles,” Dustin Maki, CEO and founder of Create Cafe 3D Printing Solutions in Saskatoon, Canada, told Digital Trends. “The main difference between this printer and smaller machines is that, instead of feeding a string of plastic in as the material, Printron uses a pellet extruder. Traditional desktop machines use a spool of filament which is made from pellets. The custom ErectorBot uses a extrusion system that goes straight from pellets enabling us to extrude plastic at a higher rate. The high flow rate is what enabled the team at Create Cafe to complete the print in under 10 days, making the process cost effective.”
With the print finished, Maki said the plan next is for the camper to be post-processed and kitted out with appliances and protective insulation coating. They also need to add windows, which can’t be 3D printed, before showing off the finished model around the country. After that, project originator Randy Janes — one of Create Cafe’s business partners — plans to open up a large format 3D- printing facility to create units for retail purposes. A buyer of one of the 3D-printed campers could have complete control over everything from layout and window placement to table and seating heights to the unit’s exterior color.
“Create Cafe is a professional services cafe,” Maki said. “We roast and serve our own coffee, while offering a full suite of 3D solutions.The cafe is used to host classes, 3D-printing events, and provide a creative environment for the public. Behind the cafe, we work closely with inventors and industry to provide prototypes, design, batch production parts, or one-off pieces to their desired specifications.”
In other words, it’s totally somewhere every “maker” in the area needs to be aware of!