3-D Printing of Open Source Appropriate Technologies for Self-Directed Sustainable Development

  •  Joshua Pearce    
  •  Christine Morris Blair    
  •  Kristen Laciak    
  •  Rob Andrews    
  •  Amir Nosrat    
  •  Ivana Zelenika-Zovko    


The technological evolution of the 3-D printer, widespread internet access and inexpensive computing has made a new means of open design capable of accelerating self-directed sustainable development. This study critically examines how open source 3-D printers, such as the RepRap and Fab@home, enable the use of designs in the public domain to fabricate open source appropriate technology (OSAT), which are easily and economically made from readily available resources by local communities to meet their needs. The current capabilities of open source 3-D printers is reviewed and a new classification scheme is proposed for OSATs that are technically feasible and economically viable for production. Then, a methodology for quantifying the properties of printed parts and a research trajectory is outlined to extend the existing technology to provide complete village-level fabrication of OSATs. Finally, conclusions are drawn on the potential for open source 3-D printers to assist in driving sustainable development.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.