World’s First 3D Printed Kayak


Jim Smith of Grass Roots Engineering has created the world’s first 3D printed Kayak.

This 16 foot-8 inch kayak is completely 3D printed, and is made from ABS plastic, machine screws, brass threaded inserts, and caulk – for extra waterproofing.

The kayak was printed on a 3D printer that Jim designed himself in 2010. Modifications were later made to the printer with the addition of a high resolution print head, build surfaces, and control electronics. In 2013, the printer was upgraded with a heated build chamber which enables printing solid ABS plastic parts with no warping or cracking. The printer has an incredible build volume of 16x16x13in.

The kayak was built using a total of 28 individually 3D printed sections. “Each section has brass threaded thermoplastic inserts so the next corresponding section can be screwed into it,” Jim wrote in his blog.

“This design was initially based on the Siskiwit Bay kayak by Bryan Hansel, but heavily modified for 3D printing,” says Jim. “The shape of the kayak was tweaked to optimize performance based on my height and weight.”

In order to reduce print time and material usage, the kayak was 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.” Jim explains.

In total, the kayak cost about $500 to build. Not bad considering that a new kayak can run into the thousands.