The team says it will use the funds to improve machines and to develop as many useful products for the Kenyan market as possible.
According to Matt Rogge, Technical Director at techfortrade, “It’s taken us nearly four years to get to the stage where we can go all the way from bottle to printed product, so we’ve finally hit the most exciting time for Digital Blacksmiths – Now we need to focus on how we get as many of these products into the hands of people who need them.”
Digital Blacksmiths’ filament is made from locally collected used PET plastic drink bottles and used to 3D print products to be market tested in Kenya. In partnership with the University of Nairobi, the team will continue the development of both robust open-source machinery, and the development of 3D printing capability for low scale product production.
With a product focus on social impact within the education and health sectors, Digital Blacksmiths have started off by 3D printing low-cost microscopes. These microscopes are now being tested in Kenya by Farm Africa’s SIDAI group of veterinary technicians, whilst partners at the University of Nairobi support the development of curriculum-relevant content for microscopes in education.
Dr. Richard Ayah, Director of the Science and Technology Park at the University of Nairobi comments, “This project seems to inspire everyone who comes across it, so we’re excited to see how we can get more support to push things further and faster. The potential impact of being able to print really useful items at a fraction of the cost is massive.”