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Steve Godreau shows 3D printed part his company RepRap Warehouse made for century-old military saddles.

An Edmonton 3D printing company is working with the Lord Strathcona Horse Regiment from the Edmonton Garrison to help keep a Canadian Military tradition alive.

“The tradition of horses in the military is ancient in and of itself,” said Steve Godreau, the owner of RepRap Warehouse.

The company was approached by the military to recreate parts on the saddles which date back to the late 1800s.

“A lot of the wood on the saddles themselves are still original so we’re looking at 100-year-old wood,” said Capt. Erik Giajnorio with the Lord Strathcona Horse Regiment.

“So just trying to source that wood has become extremely difficult,” he said.

Giajnorio said there was pushback from the regiment when the 3D printing idea was first suggested.

“However, now that we’ve seen the success of the prototype the whole team here is on-board.”

The company is currently working on a final 3D design for the wood panels used in the saddles.

“It’s lighter for the horses and the thing is, if they wear out, once we get this design settled down, we can just print another one,” said Godreau.

“The cost is considerably lower. The time is a lot shorter. And the quality of the product we get is on par with wood,” added Giajnorio.

It is allowing the regiment to preserve the saddles instead of scrapping them.

“It’s like putting a new engine in an ancient car,” said Godreau.

“It’s very symbolic so being able to keep that traditional thing by using tech is kinda cool.”

With files from Bill Fortier...