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Latest Developments in Solar Powered 3D Printing Released by Michigan Tech

by • January 18, 2016 • No Comments

600px-Pvreprap2One of the things that has created 3D printing so assistful is its portability. The impact the innovation has created in developing countries is largely due to the fact that printing equipment can be taken into remote areas, and crucial parts can be churned out in a matter of hours. Organizations like Field Ready and Enabling the Future, one of many others, are created on their ability to reach actually the many isolated folks, in refugee camps, rural mountainous communities, or disaster-damaged towns. There’s one problem that does present itself, yet. Frequently, the areas in many require of assist are lacking in electricity, or just have inconsistent access.

There have been a few creative solutions to work around the lack of electricity; Field Ready, for example, has powered its printing equipment by hooking them up to car batteries. Solutions like that have their limits, yet, especially when attempting to take printing equipment directly into folks’s homes. Moreover, part of the goal of the aforementioned relief organizations is to commence 3D printing as a permanent solution that can be implemented by locals, pretty than a temporary one dependent on the presence of outside agencies.

That’s where solar power comes in. As we’ve seen, solar power has been right up there with 3D printing in terms of sustainable innovation. Researchers at the Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology Lab (MOST) have created an open source solar powered 3D printing device that can be transported easily and operated in zero-electricity environments. The research group has been working on solar powered printing equipment for a while, and their latest developments have been published in a paper called High-Efficiency Solar-Powered 3-D Printers for Sustainable Development.

300px-OSHlogoMOST is run by Dr. Joshua Pearce, a champion of the RepRap movement in 3D printing. The solar powered printing equipment were created of MOST’s convertible delta RepRap printing device; links to all files, schematics and instructions for the group’s open source innovation are on the market for free here. The newest iteration of the solar powered printing device is actually additional efficient and effective, in that it can operate consistently through a single battery, actually when there is a low amount of sunlight on the market.

“The open source electric control processs empowers the 3-D printing device to be autonomously powered of a battery when the PV modules are not donateing adequate power, and and so switch to charging the battery whenever there is excess power,” the study states. “Buck converters are utilized to control the voltage of the PV modules and the battery, while simplifying the electrical create compared to previous work.”
model
The printing device was subjected to extensive outdoor testing under varied conditions that included quite low sunlight as well as zero sunlight. When operated by the battery alone, the printing device can run uninterrupted for over sactually hours, a significant improvement over previous iterations, that required multiple batteries to store them going. This means that the new model is not just additional reliable, but it’s more compact and less expensive to manufacture. It can be created for under $1,000, and is now tiny adequate to fit into a 36-inch duffel bag. It can in addition be adjusted to accommodate a variety of tools. More information of this and other solar powered printing equipment can be discovered here.
duffelbag“The results show the process performed as required under all conditions providing feasibility for adoption in off-grid rural communities,” says Dr. Pearce. “3-D printing equipment powered by inexpensive
mobile PV solar processs have a excellent future to reduce poverty through employment creation, as well as ensuring a constant donate of scarce products for isolated communities.”
Those products include equitething of replacement parts for existing items to significant supplies like eyeglasses. The newest updates to the solar-powered printing device, that is yet expected to undergo additional developments, are another step nearer to enabling impoverished societies to become fully autonomous through what the study calls “backyard factories,” actually without access to electricity. Are you involved in any 3D printing projects already that involve solar power? Tell us of it in the Michigan Tech Solar 3D Printers forum over at 3DPB.com.