Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Interested in 3D Printing?


What are the advantages of 3D printing for international development? This guide highlights key areas and will help you determine if 3D Printing is ideal for your project.

About the book

There are both advantages and disadvantages to 3D printing in the context of International Development. This guide highlights areas where utilising 3D technology is useful as well as areas when it isn’t suitable.

At its heart, the guide focuses on case studies of best practice and highlights opportunities for future development. Concluding with helpful tools and considerations for adopting this technology.


Who this book is for

This guide is written for those working in; NGOs, government organisations, decision-makers, policymakers and hobbyists.

It is intended to provide practical advice and guidance about 3D printing and its application in the context of international development.

The potential for 3DP in

Developing Nations

Although international development may not be the most obvious place to adopt 3DP technology, the rapid uptake of mobile phones shows how new technologies can be used to leapfrog developed nations.


A lack of infrastructure and limited logistics provides a huge opportunity for 3D printers as it could mean rural villages would be able to print products or spare parts and not have to rely on unreliable supply chains.


The advancement in mobile communication and the internet continues to support business growth around the world and coupled with 3DP technology allows for the rapid transfer of data between sites.


For engineers, this development could enable greater access to these markets through online communities and allow end-users to join the design process, creating more effective product solutions to meet their needs.


African Born 3D Printing (AB3D)

AB3D is a hardware, social enterprise start-up whose goal is to lower the barriers of access to 3D printing technology. Based in Kenya, they locally manufacture quality and affordable 3D Printers from recycled electronic waste. They build and sell 3D printers, custom printed parts, offer design support and provide training to universities and schools, developing STEM education skills.

What’s in the book

This book is not meant to be read cover to cover, but instead dipped into and used a reference about current technologies and examples through case studies, which will aid decision making.


  • Introduction
  • 3D Printing
  • Distributed Manufacturing
  • Case Studies
  • Considerations
  • Tools
  • Policy Notes
“3D printing could be a disruptive technology, leap-frogging traditional design and manufacturing processes. It could mean that people in developing countries are able to access new products faster and cheaper than they would in the past, making their lives better.”
“We have barely scratched the surface of leveraging the full potential of 3D printing.”
Dr Timothy Whitehead

Dr Timothy Whitehead is a Senior Lecturer in Design and Head of Design at Aston University, UK. His work focuses on developing tools and approaches to improve the design of products distributed in low-income countries. Timothy has worked on several projects funded through the Global Challenges Research Fund which utilise design methods and new technology to improve the livelihood of those living on less than $1 a day.

© 3D Printing Guide 2021
design by a dozen eggs