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TReND – A 3D printer for African labs

  |   Higher Education, Research   |   No comment
Originally published by trendinafrica.org.


3D printing has been in the news much lately. Although routinely employed in industry and design for more than a decade, 3D printers have recently come to be more and more affordable for private households. Today, build-your-own printer kits typically cost less than 1,000 Euros, and start as low as 500. The only additional things needed are a computer, free software, thousands of free online designs, and the raw material priced ~30 Euros per kg.

 

What can you do with it? Quite a lot as it turns out. Basically, any plastic based, small-ish object that one can cook-up in a 3D rendering software or choose from online databases such as thingiverse. Of course, the devil is in the details. Some designs are a lot easier to print than others. But even with the most low-key printers, a surprisingly diverse range of useful things can be created locally, and at low cost. In a lab setting, these may include centrifuge parts, eppendorf holders, forcepts, recording chambers, coarse pipettes or microscope adaptors and parts. Plus of course ‘home-design’ parts tha may be needed for any particular experiment. Funny adaptors, some supporting pieces, perhaps a handle, or a strange shaped piece that has gone missing from existing equipment. So overall, a very powerful toy when used correctly. Local manufacture of goods designed anywhere in the world and shared freely over the internet.

 

 

NB: one of the many free online books on building your own equipment is found here and a recent Commentary published by the same author in the Journal Science  here.

 

 

Read the whole article at trendinafrica.org.

 

trend_logoTReND is raising money to get 3-D-printers established at their African partner universities.

You can donate here.

 

 

 

 

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