High-Efficiency Solar-Powered 3-D Printers for Sustainable Development
- Jephias Gwamuri, Dhiogo Franco, Khalid Y. Khan, Lucia Gauchia and Joshua M. Pearce. High-Efficiency Solar-Powered 3-D Printers for Sustainable Development. Machines 2016, 4(1), 3; doi: 10.3390/machines4010003 open access
- To build: First follow the basic MOST Delta 3-D printer build instructions. Then print some Solar Panels holders (Solar powered delta) and finally use the more advanced and simplified electronics discussed in the paper.
- You can upgrade to print with fluids (e.g. silicone) and do PCB milling: Multi-material additive and subtractive prosumer digital fabrication with a free and open-source convertible delta RepRap 3-D printer
What could you print with it?
The release of the open source 3-D printer known as the RepRap (a self-Replicating Rapid prototyper) resulted in the potential for distributed manufacturing of products for significantly lower costs than conventional manufacturing. This development, coupled with open source-appropriate technology (OSAT), has enabled the opportunity for 3-D printers to be used for sustainable development. In this context, OSAT provides the opportunity to modify and improve the physical designs of their printers and desired digitally-shared objects. However, these 3-D printers require electricity while more than a billion people still lack electricity. To enable the utilization of RepRaps in off-grid communities, solar photovoltaic (PV)-powered mobile systems have been developed, but recent improvements in novel delta-style 3-D printer designs allows for reduced costs and improved performance. This study builds on these innovations to develop and experimentally validate a mobile solar-PV-powered delta 3-D printer system. It is designed to run the RepRap 3-D printer regardless of solar flux. The electrical system design is tested outdoors for operating conditions: (1) PV charging battery and running 3-D printer; (2) printing under low insolation; (3) battery powering the 3-D printer alone; (4) PV charging the battery only; and (5) battery fully charged with PV-powered 3-D printing. The results show the system performed as required under all conditions providing feasibility for adoption in off-grid rural communities. 3-D printers powered by affordable mobile PV solar systems have a great potential to reduce poverty through employment creation, as well as ensuring a constant supply of scarce products for isolated communities.
- Pearce Prezi on OS Solar-powered 3-D Printing intro in 2012.
Other Versions of Solar Powered 3-D Printers
- Mobile Open-Source Solar-Powered 3-D Printers for Distributed Manufacturing in Off-Grid Communities - for the first two versions of mobile solar powered 3D printers
- 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
- 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
- Open source, solar-powered RepRap 3D printer brings 3D printing to developing communities - 3Ders
- Print Off the Grid! Michigan Tech Develops Solar-Powered 3D Printer - 3D Printing Industry
- Latest Developments in Solar Powered 3D Printing Released by Michigan Tech - 3DPrint.com
- 3D Print From Dawn Till Dusk with this Solar Powered RepRap 3D Printer - 3printr
- Solar-powered 3D printers bring sustainable development to impoverished communities - Local Motors
- The Revolution Will Be Customized (and Recycled and Solar-Powered) - MIT-Sloan Management Review
- INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT SOLAR-POWERED PRINTERS - Surfolks