Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. Three quarters of Haitians live on less than US$2 per day and half of the population earns less than US$1 per day. Access to education is low. An organization, iLab // Haiti, has recently brought the first two 3D printers to the country of Haiti aiming to help local Haitians.
"We are using two of MakerBot's dual extrusion Replicator 1's, and we will add two more at the end of this month. We're teaching them to 3D model using SketchUp and Rhino, with the hope of teaching Autodesk's Inventor." writes iLab // Haiti.
Partnered with KIDmob, iLab // Haiti is teaching local Haitians 3D modeling skills and how the 3D printer works, how to repair it if it breaks down. "We want to provide access to systems thinking and a design framework, along with technical tools and skills, and discover how far Haitians can push the limits of the technology. Our goal is to empower local Haitians to think differently about their surroundings and potential."
Some of their first products are simple medical devices, such as umbilical cord clamps, made out of ABS plastic, for one-time use. If successful, their products can be used directly in local clinics.
"Hyper-local manufacturing will bypass inefficient and corrupt import systems that are currently the only option available." writes iLab // Haiti. It is pretty hard to get stuff to Haiti, such as filament for 3D printers. Currently the filament they use were either imported or brought down by volunteers going to Haiti. For solving the problems, iLab // Haiti has been in touch with Filabot, creator of Filabot desktop extruding system. Filabot is a low cost device which is capable of grinding various types of plastics, to make spools of plastic filament for 3D printers.
"We're hoping the engineers from Filabot will be able to join us in Haiti to analyze the materials that are available, such as plastic bottles or water pouches, to see if we can manufacture spools locally without having to import more ABS. Most trash gets burned or thrown in the streets, so if we can use some of those waste materials to 3D print with..." says the team. With such a device, they could just collect and sterilize those plastic and convert them into spools to be 3D printed. In addition they also plan to create a closed-loop system - so plastic that has been 3D printed can get broken down and converted back into a spool for reprinting.
Meanwhile the non-profit is also looking for a solar company to work with to help make the iLab sustainably powered. So if you are interested in supporting iLab // Haiti, check their site here.
Posted in 3D Printing Applications
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