WOOF, the first winners of techfortrade’s 3D4D Challenge, proposed using giant 3D printers for the developing world, a project I first saw in progress at Metrix:Create Space in Seattle — where the team was at work building a giant ramshackle printer capable of making objects out of HPDE harvested from used plastic milk jugs.
The three undergraduates won to form a company that will work with partners in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Matthew Rogge, a mechanical engineering grad student, proposed to use giant 3-D printers to create composting latrines that are lightweight and use less energy to manufacture than concrete toilets.
The machine would also make rainwater catchment components that are specifically designed to fit to rain barrels, unlike current systems where joining available plumbing parts cause leaks and frequent failures.
Judges also were impressed by research the students conducted to prove their concept. In July the students printed a boat from more than 250 milk jugs and then entered it in a Seattle race. That proved they could create objects from recycled plastic and was a test run for their custom-built giant printer, also built from salvaged parts.
“With small-scale printers, the extruders can clog easily,” said Brandon Bowman, who also attended the competition. The huge printer that the students built, named “Big Red,” can not only create larger objects, but it also allows them to print with materials that are not perfectly clean.
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has thrilled us at Adafruit with its passion and dedication to making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed that our community integrating electronics projects into 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you take considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless EL Wire and LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you have a cool project you’ve made that joins the traditions of 3D printing and electronics, be sure to send it in to be featured here!