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Surprising Science

3D Printed Kayaks Are Tailored to Users

This summer, fire up the 3D printer! Here’s another impressive success story from the 3D printing revolution: a kayak.


Engineer Jim Smith, founder of Grass Roots Engineering, created a 3D printed kayak that appears to work. The 17 feet long kayak weighs around 65 pounds, and costs $500 to produce. 

Design blog PSFK explains how he did it: 

Smith used ABS plastic, machine screws, brass threaded inserts, and silicone caulk to create the whole thing. Smith built the kayak with his home-built large scale 3D printer, which he had to slightly modify to print all 28 kayak parts inside a heated chamber that prevented them from cracking or warping.

Check out this video to see the production process: 

The kayaks can also be tailored to a paddler’s size. But the adventurous should proceed with caution when using one of these. It doesn’t appear to have been determined whether they can hold their own against rough rapids. 

Image credit: Tommy P World/Flickr


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