This week, we’re celebrating National Philanthropy Day (Nov. 15) with a look at how 3D printing and additive manufacturing are changing the world! Explore how this innovative technology is changing our world for the better by creating sustainable sanitation structures, low- and no-cost homes for displaced peoples, medical necessities, and more.
3D printing is helping to provide a quick, sustainable, and cheap solution to homelessness. New Story is a charity organization that is building 3D printed homes for those in need. The organization and its partners are committed to “making dignified housing the standard for people throughout the world,” by using 3D printing, a process which can build homes in 24 hours using local materials and produces zero waste. Those that receive the homes pay a very low monthly amount that is manageable for low-income families over a 7 year period; the money paid goes into a local community fund, thus further aiding the low-income areas in which these homes are built and breaking the vicious cycle of homelessness and poverty.
In a similar vein, 3D printing is helping to provide waste management and sanitation innovations to those who otherwise might not have access to these important resources. “The Throne” by To.org is a 3D-printed portable toilet created from upcycled single-use medical plastic. The structure provides both a solution for reusing discarded single-use plastics and for providing portable sanitation in the areas that need it most, all while bringing the conversation about sanitation (an otherwise “unsexy” topic) to the forefront through striking design.
On the medical front, for those requiring prosthetics, 3D printing can be a life-changer. With traditional prosthetics costing between several thousands and tens of thousands of dollars without insurance, the 3D printing community has come together to help those who cannot otherwise afford these life-altering medical devices. E-Nable connects thousands of volunteers to design, print, and assemble prosthetics limbs for those in need for free. This service has helped provide prosthetics for up to 15,000 recipients who were born missing limbs or lost them due to accident, illness, or other circumstance, and continues to expand its reach.
3D printing is also helping to make plant-based alternative foods available and appealing to meat-lovers, which in turn helps our environment. With global meat consumption producing the majority of global greenhouse gases, which speed up global warming; contributing to deforestation via the spread of farmland; and creating other environmental problems, Redefine Meat is seeking to redefine how we eat food. The company uses 3D printing, artificial intelligence, and material science to create near-identical plant substitutes for traditional meat products, helping to entice both those who love meat and want to contribute to a more sustainable environment.
A somewhat quieter way 3D printing is helping to change the world through creating a more sustainable environment (and how you can help, too!) is by reducing emissions associated with shipping items. In today’s world where we can order a product one day and receive it the next, or buy an exotic fruit with a simple trip to the grocery store, we don’t always consider that this convenience and accessibility is thanks to a huge shipping network that can quite literally include planes, trains, and automobiles and span thousands of miles. 3D printing is helping to reduce emissions caused by this system by allowing for products to be created in-facility or at-home; need a new phone case? You can print it instead of contributing to the shipping pipeline, reducing fossil fuels use and pollution.
ProtoCAM is always pushing to make our world a better place by exploring new environmental initiatives to introduce into our facility, working with local students and schools on STEM education projects, developing medically-assistive products, and more. Keep watch for what we and the industry at large do next using additive manufacturing to make our world the best place it can be!