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Mobile Open-Source Solar-Powered 3-D Printers for Distributed Manufacturing in Off-Grid Communities
|By Michigan Tech's Open Sustainability Technology Lab.
Wanted: Students to make a distributed future with solar-powered open-source 3-D printing.
|This page is part of an international project to use RepRap 3-D printing to make OSAT for sustainable development. Learn more.
Research: Open source 3-D printing of OSAT • RecycleBot • LCA of home recycling • Green Distributed Recycling • Ethical Filament • LCA of distributed manufacturing • RepRap LCA Energy and CO2 • Solar-powered RepRaps • solar powered recyclebot • Feasibility hub • Mechanical testing • RepRap printing protocol: MOST• Lessons learned • MOST RepRap Build • MOST Prusa Build • MOST HS RepRap build • RepRap Print Server
- Debbie L. King, Adegboyega Babasola, Joseph Rozario, and Joshua M. Pearce, “Mobile Open-Source Solar-Powered 3-D Printers for Distributed Manufacturing in Off-Grid Communities,” Challenges in Sustainability 2(1), 18-27 (2014). open access
Manufacturing in areas of the developing world that lack electricity severely restricts the technical sophistication of what is produced. More than a billion people with no access to electricity still have access to some imported higher-technologies; however, these often lack customization and often appropriateness for their community. Open source appropriate technology (OSAT) can overcome this challenge, but one of the key impediments to the more rapid development and distribution of OSAT is the lack of means of production beyond a specific technical complexity. This study designs and demonstrates the technical viability of two open-source mobile digital manufacturing facilities powered with solar photovoltaics, and capable of printing customizable OSAT in any community with access to sunlight. The first, designed for community use, such as in schools or makerspaces, is semi-mobile and capable of nearly continuous 3-D printing using RepRap technology, while also powering multiple computers. The second design, which can be completely packed into a standard suitcase, allows for specialist travel from community to community to provide the ability to custom manufacture OSAT as needed, anywhere. These designs not only bring the possibility of complex manufacturing and replacement part fabrication to isolated rural communities lacking access to the electric grid, but they also offer the opportunity to leap-frog the entire conventional manufacturing supply chain, while radically reducing both the cost and the environmental impact of products for developing communities.
What could you print with it? See: 3D printable appropriate technology designs See Also: Applications of Open Source 3-D Printing on Small Farms
- Pearce Prezi on OS Solar-powered 3-D Printing intro in 2012.
Other Versions of Solar Powered 3-D Printers
- The most up-to-date MOST version: High-Efficiency Solar-Powered 3-D Printers for Sustainable Development
- Markus Kayser's solar concentrator sand sinter 3D printer: http://www.markuskayser.com/work/solar-sinter/
- Mark Fuller's PV-powered Mendel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzo-M5c_73Y
- The inventor of RepRap, Adrian Bowyer, in a true show of classiness is running his RepRap making factory off solar power and feeding the excess back into the grid.
- Solar powered Gigabot
- Development of a Resilient 3-D Printer for Humanitarian Crisis Response
- Open-source 3-D Printing in Managing Humanitarian Innovation
- Open-source, self-replicating 3-D printer factory for small-business manufacturing
- Distributed manufacturing with 3-D printing: a case study of recreational vehicle solar photovoltaic mounting systems
- Global value chains from a 3D printing perspective
In the News
- Unplugged: 3D Printing Goes Solar - Michigan Tech News, Phys.org, Ibvestor Intel, Technology.org
- US researchers develop two open-source portable solar-powered 3D printers for off-grid communities - 3Ders
- Michigan Tech Researchers Create Two Portable Solar Powered 3D Printer Systems - 3D Print, 3D Printboard thread
- Solar powered 3D printers invented by researchers - Greentech Lead
- Solar-Powered 3D Printer for Less-Developed Areas of the Globe - Inside 3D Printing
- Michigan Tech Researchers Create Two Portable Solar Powered 3D Printer Systems - 2045
- Portable Solar-Powered 3D Printers Could Change Life in Developing Countries - Softpedia
- A Solar-Powered 3D Printer for Less-Developed Areas of the Globe - 3D Printing Stocks
- 3D Printing Goes Solar - 3D Printing Review
- 3D Printing Goes Solar - Engineering.com
- Building anything, anywhere starts with this 3D printer - CNET
- Solar 3D printers take manufacturing off the grid - Treehugger
- Tech professor works on making an off-grid 3D printer - UP Second Wave
- 3D Printing Goes Solar - InterPV
- Open-source solar-powered 3D printers can go almost anywhere - Kurzweil AI
- Solar 3D printers take manufacturing off the grid- Solar Energy Industry Today
- Solar 3D printers take manufacturing off the grid - USA News
- Use Solar-Powered 3D Printers Anytime, Anywhere - Augmented Reality Trends
- Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday - Daily Kos
- Solar 3D printers take manufacturing off the grid - Found it Good
- Portable solar-powered 3D printers can make the printing possible in off-grid communities - 3D Printing From Scratch
- Open-source solar-powered 3D printers developed by Joshua Pearce! - Green Hero
- How 3D Printers Are Boosting Off-The-Grid, Underdeveloped Communities - MotherBoard, Ethical Filament Foundation
- Print Paves The Future:3D printers are revolutionizing underdeveloped communities - Versus
- Solar-powered 3D printers are giving near-instant disaster relief to underdeveloped communities - Plaid Zebra
- Solar Powered 3D printers - EcoWatch, The Recycler Virgin Unite Good News Round up
- 3D Printers are a Game Changer for Developing Countries - Inside 3D Printing
- Here Are the Big Ways 3-D Printing Is Creating the Future of Renewable Energy Tech.Mic
- Solar 3d printer technology to revolutionise developing countries - BBC
- A 3D printer with a difference - Scitechnews.co.uk
- Imprimante 3D open-source portable et solaire - Additiverse(France)
- Des chercheurs américains développent deux imprimantes 3D open-source portables et solaires pour des collectivités hors réseau électrique - InfoHighTech (France)
- 利用太阳能供电 两款开源3D打印机面世 - OA.ZOL (China)
- 利用太阳能供电 两款开源3D打印机面世 - Digi163 (China)
- La stampante 3D, solare e portatile - Qual Energia (Italy)
- Stampa 3D, open source ed energia solare - The Shaper (Italy)
- 最新消息：两款开源3D打印机能够利用太阳能供电 - Baidu Tieba (Chinese: 百度贴吧; pinyin: bǎidù tiēbā; is the largest Chinese communication platform provided by the Chinese search engine company, Baidu.
- Solar 3D printers take manufacturing off the grid- TindoSolar Australia
- Crean dos impresoras 3D que funcionan con energía solar - Whats New (Spanish)
- Fiber-Mud and Solar Powered 3D printers - Timbuktu Chronicles
- Güneş Enerjili 3D Yazıcı Tasarlandı - Solarbaba (Turkish)
- Una stampante 3D solare, portatile ed auto-replicante? Non è fantascienza ma realtà (dead link) - International Business Times (Italian)
- Stampanti 3D a energia solare: una tecnologia che ti segue dovunque - Elettronica Open Source (Italian)