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.
On November 10th 2020, researchers at the Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) of Lemont, Illinois spoke of an experiment that they had done in collaboration with the University Of Oklahoma into 3D printed weather stations. They proclaimed that despite potentially not lasting as long as commercial-grade ones, 3D printed weather stations with low-cost sensors can be just as accurate. Their research was published in the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques.
Between mid-August 2018 and mid-April 2019, the researchers compared various measurements on a 3D printed weather station with those of one in the Oklahoma Mesonet, during which time there were strong rainstorms, snow, and temperatures ranging from 14 to 104°F (-10 to 40°C). (The Oklahoma Mesonet is a self-proclaimed “world-class network of environmental monitoring stations.”) While the 3D printed system did suffer from some broken parts circa 5 months into the experiment, it was found that its measurements were consistent with those of the commercial-grade station, and that the 3D printed material mostly withstood the elements.
ANL proclaimed that commercial-grade weather stations can cost thousands of US dollars, whereas 3D printed ones with low-cost sensors can be built for just a few hundred. The researchers hope that their work will help weather data collection in remote areas and will lead to 3D printed weather stations being used as educational tools. The use of 3D printed weather stations traces back at least as far as June 2016, where a network of them was installed in Zambia to help the country’s farmers better decide when to plant and fertilise their crops.
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Disclaimer: Featured image of “White weather station (Unsplash)” has been dedicated to the public domain by its author (known only as Samuel Zeller) under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.