âI work out of my garage, my kitchen and my front room,â said Mark. âI needed tools but didnât need them to take up much space. These products from 3D Systems are a perfect fit and were quite inexpensive.â
When Mark Schmidtke encountered a strong headwind while kayaking on the Intracoastal Waterway in South Carolina, what should have been a relaxed hour-long return trip turned into a 5-hour battle of endurance against the elements.
Exhausted and spent, Mark loaded his kayak, drove home and pondered the situation. On mentioning the ordeal to a friend, he responded with the idea of putting an outboard motor on his kayak to help with such situations. And on that idea, the kernel of an innovative small business was formed.
Mark, a retired dentist and avid kayaker, set out to experiment with how he could fit a trolling motor to his kayak. In addition to finding a way to mount the motor, he would need electrical systems and rudder controls, as well as a way to mount batteries to the kayak.
A successful design quickly led to considerations for commercialization, which brought a whole new set of challenges. Designing a universal mount system would be a key.
“Most kayaks don’t have level platforms you can mount to,” said Mark. “I had used 3D scanning in my dental practice… and it occurred to me that the same technology might provide a solution to this problem.”
After a series of Google searches, Mark opted to purchase a Sense 3D scanner, Geomagic Design CAD software and a CubePro 3D printer from 3D Systems.
“I work out of my garage, my kitchen and my front room,” said Mark. “I needed tools but didn’t need them to take up much space. These products from 3D Systems are a perfect fit and were quite inexpensive.”
Scanning the back of the kayak with the Sense takes about 5 minutes and the Sense software saves the 3D data out to four different 3D file formats for downstream use. Mark saved the scan data in STL format, and imported it into Geomagic Design.
“I had already created the main plate for the motor attachment in Geomagic Design, so it was easy to bring the scan data in, Boolean it out of a matching block, and then create a custom shim that would allow the plate to attach to the kayak,” said Mark.
As the custom shim was created, so Mark saved it to STL, uploaded it to the CubePro software and started a 3D print in Nylon material.
“The scan takes 5 minutes. The shim design takes about another 10, and then it’s 9 hours to print,” said Mark. “So in less than a day I have a strong, fully-functional custom shim to use in my work.”
Recently, Mark’s designs have been given a Notice of Allowance by the US Patent and Trademark office and will soon be published. With that in mind, Mark has formed his own company – PowerUp Kayaking – and has started fitting customer’s kayaks with his trolling motor design.
“Every kayak is different, and attaching the mounting plate for the motor often requires a custom fitting,” he said. “Having the option to scan, design and print in nylon, quickly and inexpensively, allows me to mount my system to any kayak…a prerequisite to growing my business.”
“You don’t have to use the trolling motor every time you kayak,” said Mark. “But you now have that option especially when going upstream, against a tide, or into a headwind.”
“I couldn’t have achieved this without 3D Systems technology. The integrated workflow of the Sense scanner, Geomagic software and the CubePro totally makes my work easy and straightforward.”
Watch the video below
To visit PowerUp Kayaking: http://powerupkayaking.com/