3D printing has proven its relevance for the Western world the past several years, but if the technique could enable us to also help other countries to further develop, then its impact could be enormous. One of the things the technique could help the third world with is providing for houses. Lots of interesting companies are currently working on 3D printed housing projects and Italian WASProject is new on the radar.
WASProject stands for World’s Advanced Saving Project. What they basically do is developing innovative 3D printers, such as the POWERWASP and the DeltaWASP. The first printer is a combination of a 3D printer and a CNC milling machine and the second one is able to print in a large variety of materials. The organization produces these printers to make money to produce bigger ones, which they eventually could use to provide for housing in the Third World.
Eddie Krassenstein at 3dprint.com recently had the opportunity to ask them something about their housing project. He spoke with WASProject team member Sebastiano and he said:
“Our main target is to produce a big Delta Robot, capable of printing huge objects and use this machine to produce housing structures or housing modules, using natural materials such as clay / soil / natural powders, mixed with resin / ect.”
But as mentioned before, they are not the only party working on projects to help the Third World. American company Peppermint Energy recently came up with an invention that makes it possible to produce energy in a highly inexpensive way. Their portable solar arrays help people in the Third World to cheaply provide for light, cool food and medicine, and power devices. The invention is called the FORTY2 and it the company has used 3D printing techniques to create the arrays.
Another example: the University of Toronto recently partnered up with a hospital from Uganda and an NGO to 3D print prosthetics in order to speed up the process of helping Ugandan people who’ve lost a limb. 3D printing basically makes it easier to create high quality prosthetic limbs. It works as follows: after a scan of the patient is made in Uganda, this 3D scan can be sent to a different part of the world in only a few seconds. A technician can digitally design a prosthesis over there and send the file back to Africa in order to have a 3D printer print out the prosthetic limb. This prosthesis can then be created in less than a day.
And then there’s Project Daniel by American organization Not Impossible, which was named after a boy who lost both his hands from a war bomb. It offers prosthetic arms to Sudan war victims for only 100 dollars (which the victims don’t have to pay for, obviously), in order to be able to help as many people as possible. The time needed to produce such prosthetics is just about six hours. However, the consequence of these low costs is that users of these prosthetics can not perform all actions, such as lifting heavy objects or controlling the fingers.
And then back to 3D printing projects regarding houses. Parties also working on such projects are DUS Architects from Holland, WinSun from China and the University of Southern California, which is working on a project called Contour Crafting. They are working a 3D printing method to build a 2,500-square-foot house in only 20 hours. The task for them is to turn 3D printing houses into a affordable thing, so it could be used to one day help the Third World. If we look at it from this angle, then WinSun is really interesting, as this company uses waste to produce new houses. Can it get any more adequate and cheap than that? Surely something to keep an eye on.
Image credits: WASProject.