Feb 12, 2016 | By Kira
The Faircap Project is a collaborative, clean water initiative, whose aim is to create an affordable open source 3D printed water filtration device that could provide clean, safe, drinkable water to those in need. The startup has already created a working prototype, but is now calling on engineers, designers, microbiologists, or anyone interested in helping to pitch their own open source ideas and make the Faircap filter as low cost and accessible as possible.
Who knew that one could be such a powerful number? Only one percent of the world’s water is drinkable, meaning nearly one billion people currently live without access to clean water, leading to an increase in death and water-related diseases. Yet at the same time, one dollar could be all it takes to make a functional, portable 3D printed water filter that works with standard PET water jugs and uses readily available materials.
That is The Faircap Project’s vision. Led by social entrepreneur and economics graduate Mauricio Cordova, The Faircap Project began when the Peruvian-born entrepreneur traveled to the Amazon Rainforest, where he was struck by the amount of industrial and chemical waste contaminating this once-pristine environment. “I realized that no matter where you are in the planet, we all will be suffering from more contamination from human and industrial activities in rivers, lakes and natural water reserves,” he said.
3D printed prototype version
Having previously been exposed to the open source and maker movements while working in Barcelona, he decided to apply the concepts of digital fabrication, crowdsourcing, eco-hacking and collaboration to find a solution for this global clean water crisis.
The Faircap 3D printed water filter, developed after extensive research and testing, is able to filter particles, chemicals, bacteria and viruses from the dirtiest of water, all while fitting onto a standard sized water bottle. To make one, all you need is a 3D printer, food-grade, FDA approved PET plastic filament, the free STL files, and household items such as charcoal from a BBQ, cotton swabs, and an empty 5-8 liter water jug.
There is, however, one more element involved, and this is where potential collaborators are being asked to help: While the charcoal and salt clean the water of floating matter and chemicals, ridding water of pathogens requires one of two options: leaving the filtered water in direct sunlight for four hours, which is not always possible, or using an ultrafiltration (UF) plastic filter cartridge. UF cartridges have pores so small that bacteria and viruses can’t pass through. While extremely reliable, they aren’t always accessible.
The Faircap Project is thus looking for an open source, DIY solution to either make their own ultrafiltration filter or another portable UV light system while keeping the entire project’s costs down.
In order to help out, the company has launched a crowdfunding campaign where you can pre-order the first Faircap filters and help get the first 1,000 units manufactured. You can also download the STL files via the Instructables page and come up with new, creative solutions of your own. In the long-term, Faircap envisions offering various different models of the 3D printed filter, which could be adapted to purify contaminated water from taps, wells, lakes, rivers or even ponds—all while keeping the standard unit price at just $1.
"Water is the operating system (OS) for life, without clean water we would not be able to survive," said Cordova. "Clean water technologies should be shared and open sourced, to innovate on design and make them easily accessible for the people who need them most."
Posted in 3D Printing Application
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