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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.