Here at 3D Rapid Print, one of the fastest growing 3D Printing companies in the Thames Valley, we like to keep abreast of the latest innovations in 3D printing.

In 1980 there were 133 climate-related disasters; in 2005 there were 432. Natural disasters will only become more frequent as the Earth’s climate continues to become increasingly unpredictable. The World Health Organisation estimates that natural disasters kill over 90,000 and affect over 160 million people every year; most affected people live in poverty-stricken areas that suffer from a lack of proper infrastructure to deliver humanitarian aid. Increasing urbanisation and growing populations are also contributing to a significant increase in the financial cost of natural disasters; they cost the world $528 billion between 1981 and 1990, whereas they cost just the United States $307 billion in 2017 alone. Due to the low costs of 3D printing technology relative to current aid efforts, it only makes sense that integrating 3D printing into humanitarian aid efforts will lessen the financial impact of natural disasters.

Field Ready is non-profit organisation specialising in 3D printing stuff for humanitarian aid; they worked in Nepal to help it recover from the Nepalese earthquake of April 2015. The lack of proper road infrastructure and financial resources in the village of Bhotechaur prompted Field Ready engineer Ram Chandra Thapa to design and produce 3D printable otoscopes; Field Ready subsequently experimented with designing 3D printable tweezers, forceps and stethoscopes.

Millebot Inc of Winter Park, Florida is a self-proclaimed “privately held deep-tech company that designs and builds a patent-pending modular digital-manufacturing platform within the ISO shipping container.” Circa January 2017, they unveiled a 3D printer nicknamed Mille; it combines additive and subtractive manufacturing, can be powered by diesel generators and is built within a shipping container to make it more practical to transport. This allows it to make a significant range of disaster relief items significantly faster than other 3D printers.

Circa March 2018, a team from Deakin University of Victoria, Australia and humanitarian organisation Plan International were led by Dr. Mazer Mohammed to the Solomon Islands. (Dr. Mohammed is also from Deakin University.) There, they introduced solar-powered portable 3D printers that can print with ground up plastic waste pellets.

Given that natural disasters displace millions of people each year, the more 3D printing technology evolves, the more likely it becomes that it would be used build houses in displaced communities. Housing charity New Story of San-Francisco, California is on an ongoing mission to build 3D printed communities in area that are prone to natural disasters. As of April 2019, each of their 3D printed houses costs circa $6,000 to make and can be built within 24 hours. They collaborated with construction technologies company ICON of Austin, Texas to develop a 3D printer to 3D print houses that was codenamed Vulcan; it was unveiled in March 2018 at South by Southwest, also in Austin, Texas. Vulcan is made of lightweight aluminium, making it easier to transport, and has a built-in generator in case of a power cut. ICON unveiled a new and improved version of the Vulcan circa March 2019. As of April 2019, New Story’s work towards its first 3D printed community is ongoing.

3D printing is an amazing tool. It can grow your small business or start a mini revolution in an industry. Explore what it can do for you when you contact us today.

Disclaimer: Featured image of Tunguska event fallen trees is in the public domain in Russia according to article 1281 of Book IV of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation No. 230-FZ of December 18, 2006 and article 6 of Law No. 231-FZ of the Russian Federation of December 18, 2006 (the Implementation Act for Book IV of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation). The featured image is in the public domain in the United States, because it was in the public domain in its home country (Russia) on the URAA date (January 1, 1996).