Stories to inspire #8: 3D printing in fragile areas

It is time to start paying attention to some serious products that can be made with 3D printing, to start transforming the aid sector.

What if the logistics process from donor to disaster areas could be shortened to a couple of days? What if victims of a conflict were creators of supplies they actually need?

The organisation Field Ready is realising the making of humanitarian supplies through rapid manufacturing, training designers, and 3D printing in the field.

Three years ago, the head of Star Wars’ Yoda was the most used item printed with a 3D printer. Now, the hype of 3D printing has blown over. It is time to start paying attention to some serious products that can be made with this technology. Field Ready and their local partners create medical equipment, parts to fix leaky piping systems or to construct safer buildings, hand-prosthetics for children or improved cook stoves.

Why? To put an end to the dependency on the long duration of transportation and communication. And to start transforming the aid sector. Road blocks or congestions hinder transportation. Donors sometimes fail to take the local context into account when selecting supplies (shipping winter coats to Haiti for example). Field Ready is training victims of disasters to become designers themselves. They donate ready-to-use 3D printers to communities while openly sharing technical drawings and knowledge.

Story to Inspire #9

With a 3D printer you can easily make prototypes on location. If it appears not useful, you’ll be able to create a new prototype within minutes. And by making use of recycled plastic, the input for the printers is more environmental friendly than manufacturing the supplies in factories.

With these projects of Field Ready in Nepal, Haiti and Syria, they are enabling inhabitants of disaster areas – through the use of technology – to create a resilient environment and to provide trust by engaging in new partnerships.

Want to know more and learn about other tools Field Ready is using? Check www.fieldready.org.

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