There are tonnes of good ideas that can change the world. Regular readers of RESET will already know of a few. Every month, we will choose one idea that stands out thanks to its impact and innovative approach. Our favourite project in August: open source 3D printers made from electronic waste!
Old printers, PCs, smartphones, tablets and copy machines; all these are being a second life by being turned into 3D printers. How? Software platform Retr3D creates a custom design, based on the locally available materials, including instructions. The whole thing is open source and free to everyone.
What do we find so impressive?
By using e-waste for parts, the software not only makes the construction of 3D printers affordable, but also takes care of the reduction of the myriad, environmentally hazardous electronic waste deposits. This, coupled with the open source software, also makes the printers cheap to produce: each unit should cost no more than 100 – 120 USD. 3D printing is having a significant impact: from creating affordable prostheses to building solutions for Syrian refugees in Jordan; from ingenious ways to protect sea turtles to turning smartphones into microscopes, the potential for 3D printing in the social and environmental sphere is huge.
We also give another star to the Techfortrade-initiated project for not only providing the manual online (via the platform Wevolver), but for working collaboratively with, among others, entrepreneurs in Tanzania, Kenya and West African countries to implement the device. The makers want to give local groups the knowledge required for the construction of 3D printers and support micro-enterprises with the necessary start-up financing.
You can find out more about 3D printing for good via the video below: