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3D printing farm machinery parts

3D printing farm machinery parts

Printing parts allows for quicker repairs, one business owner said

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

The next big innovation in agriculture could see farmers manufacturing their own parts at home.

Using a 3D printer to produce machinery parts has several benefits, said Randy Janes, owner of Wave of the Future, a 3D printing company.

In some cases, printing a part at home may be faster than waiting for a delivery during harvest, Janes said.

“If you’re on your farm and you break a cog on one of your pieces of equipment … (you can) print that cog, (and) by lunch time or the next morning, you have the part on your table,” Janes told the Regina Leader-Post on June 21.

Growers may also transition from parts made of steel to parts made of renewable materials.

Janes is developing a polyester filament derived from corn that can withstand intense heat and is very flexible.

“What’s better than making stuff out of something that’s grown versus fossil fuel plastics?” he told the Regina Leader-Post.

He is also working on tool that would allow farmers to recycle old plastics into new, printed products.

“3D printing is additive manufacturing, so you have no waste when you’re done with the product,” he told the Saskatchewan paper.

Using 3D printing technology can also help farmers eliminate unnecessary errors within the machinery.

“Everything needs to work together and if the littlest thing fails you might get sensor errors,” Lance Greene, co-founder of Create Café, a mix of a coffee shop and 3D printing facility in Saskatoon, Sask., told Global News on June 22. “With 3D printing technology, you can fix a lot of those problems yourself.”

Farms.com has reached out to Janes and Create Café for more insight into printing farm machinery parts. Farms.com has also contacted equipment manufacturers for thoughts on the use of 3D printing technology.

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