The Pearce Research Group at Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology Center developed a way to make 3D printing more sustainable – they created a solar powered 3D printer.
The journal Machines published the work of Jephias Gwamuri, Dhiogo Franco, Khalid Khan, Lucia Gauchia and Joshua Pearce with the title “High-Efficiency Solar-Powered 3-D Printers for Sustainable Development”. The paper proofs that it is still possible to use a 3D printer even in the most off-grid communities utilising solar power.
A 3D printer could be used to bring spare parts, tools and even prosthetics to the remote areas of the world. And the scientist thought of all possibilities: There is a built in rechargeable battery in the 3D printer, which steps in if there is a cloud covering the sun.
The solar powered 3D printer can be built with a budget of around 1000$, but most of the money is spent on the solar panels.
If you are reading this from a remote location of the earth or you are just interested in the project, you can download the plans and schematics for this RepRap machine at Appropedia.