Due to heavy flooding in the Solomon Islands, a team from Deakin University in Australia led by Dr. Mazher Mohammed, in cooperation with Plan International, is using waste plastic rummaged from local dumps as feedstock for 3D printed parts for water supply pipes in the remote village of Visale.
The 3D printer used by the team is solar powered, portable, and capable of processing recycled plastic. The leaking pipes had previously been patched together using materials the locals had available such as bike tires and garden hoses.
While designing the replacement parts for the pipe on a laptop, 3D printable pellets were created by grinding plastic waste in a manually operated crusher. The result? 3D printed connectors that fit perfectly!
Dr. Mohammed’s team hopes the project will show the potential of locally produced 3D printed parts to reduce the cost of essential maintenance in remote disaster-hit areas.
A commercial version of the system is already in the works, expected to cost less than $10,000.
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