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Windmillprint-crop.jpg Yes it is possible to print a windmill with a 3D printer for a fraction of the cost of manufacturing one conventionaly. Learn more about open-source 3-D printing of open source appropriate technology for sustainable development.


Appropriate Technology Engineering 305 class
Parabolic basket and tin can solar cooker. The objective of this project is to create a solar cooker out of local invasive species and waste materials. We want to create a device that can pasteurize water and be an alternative to the use of fossil fuels for cooking food. Our criteria for evaluating the appropriateness of technology are: use of local materials, efficiency, durability, ease of use, ease of construction, cost, impact on environment, impact on culture/lifestyle, education or expertise needed for construction.

Overall this was a successful project. We were able to meet our goal of pasteurizing water. The solar basket can pasteurize water in a quart container in about an hour with optimal conditions. If we were to make the solar basket version 2.0, here are some changes we would make: 1. double up the blackberry runners so that the ribs of the basket are stronger; 2. use another material instead of pampas grass because it causes lumps on the basket's surface, maybe something softer; 3. use all large can lids, of the shiniest quality; and 4.construct the rings that hold the parabolic shape out of a less flexible material than the aluminum and wire that we found.

Solar Charged Lawnmower

Converting a very used gas power lawnmower into a solar charged, low emission, almost silent, lawn cutting machine.

Selected quote
Every designer's dirty little secret is that they copy other designers' work. They see work they like, and they imitate it. Rather cheekily, they call this inspiration.

Aaron Russell
Man working in a rice field.
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals. The substance is ingested by an organism and assimilated by the organism's cells in an effort to produce energy, maintain life, and/or stimulate growth. Historically, people secured food through two methods: hunting and gathering, and agriculture.

Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the development of civilization. In the developed world, industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture has become the dominant system of modern farming, although there is growing support for sustainable agriculture (e.g. permaculture or organic agriculture).

Sustainable agriculture is the practice of farming using principles of ecology, the study of relationships between organisms and their environment. It has been defined as "an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will last over the long term: satisfy human food and fiber needs; make the most efficient use of non-renewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls; sustain the economic viability of farm operations; and enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.”

Related portal: Permaculture
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Engr305 Appropriate Technology Projects: Below are selected service learning projects from Engr305 Appropriate Technology, which is a course on appropriate technology at Humboldt State University taught by instructor Lonny Grafman.

Chris's ENGR305 Solar Food Dehydrator

A hybrid, solar food dehydrator  
Compressed earth brick press

An exploration of compressed earth bricks  
Deidre's vertical vegetable garden

Solar powered vertical vegetable garden  
Devan's vertical axis wind turbine

Experimental Vertical Axis Wind Turbine  
Engr305 peanut sheller project

Peanut sheller made from clay and newspaper  
Engr305 pulser pump

A working model of a Pulser pump  
Engr 305 solar learning station

Instructional Solar Learning Station  
ENGR305 windbelt

Testing new materials for prototype windbelts  
Ethanol from organic sugar beets versus refined cane sugar

Determining the cost inputs and energy outputs of small scale ethanol production  

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