Thu 20 Jun 2019

Take a Portable 3D Printer to Rwanda and Intern at ORTHOLAB

Kyle Reeser Public Seen by 204

EDIT: After receiving feedback from the community it seems it would be best to break this proposal into its constituent prongs. I will work to generate individual proposals on the following:

--A portable 3D printer
--An internship/volunteering opportunity at ORTHOLAB in Nyanza, Rwanda with an optional portable 3D printer field test rider

I'm Kyle Reeser all-but-Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering. I build bioprinters and other 3D-printers from scratch.

This summer I'm working with Jon Schull and Skip Meetze in the Rochester Enable Lab.

Inspired by Jon's recent post about the e-NABLE Half-Bakery, I propose to adapt a Creality Ender 3 3D printer to fit into a suitcase, take it to Rwanda, help Humanitarian Prosthetists and Orthotists (HP&O) open a new ORTHOLAB clinic there, test the device in the field, and return to Rochester to document the "porta-printer" as well as HP&O's processes.

The whole porta-printer should cost less than a thousand dollars and will be open-source for the e-NABLE community. The one I build could become a loaner!


A four-pronged proposal for discussion:

--Build a portable 3D printer that fits in a suitcase, and is robust enough to be transported and used around the world
--Sponsor an internship/volunteering opportunity at ORTHOLAB in Nyanza, Rwanda for 6 weeks.
--Field test the portable 3D printer in Rwanda
--Write up what was learned from ORTHOLAB (including novel prosthetic designs) and the Field Test.

A Google Doc detailing the proposal for discussion can be found here


Jon Schull Fri 21 Jun 2019

Kyle has been working in our lab for several weeks. I've been, to say the least, impressed. I think he can do everything he proposes here for under $10,000. We'll end up with new device designs, new friends, and a printer that we can use for future ventures and demos, and instructions on how to make more.


Magi Fri 21 Jun 2019



Magi Fri 21 Jun 2019

This sounds like a great project.


Bob Rieger Fri 21 Jun 2019

I believe it is a wonderful project. Not having experience with requests of this magnitude, do we have guidelines for the maximum amount we will fund for any given project? As stewards of the e-NABLE fund assets, I think the community has to balance worth and need versus funds available for other projects.


Everton Lins Fri 21 Jun 2019

I agree with you @bobrieger. Quantitative analysis is something very important.


Leland Green Sat 22 Jun 2019

I love the idea of an open-source 3D-printer that he's detailed here. @kylereeser, it hit me that you might want to include a way to attach a couple of spools of filament somehow, even if it's just an "add-on" bag, (3D-printed) spool, or however.

Also, have you calculated the amount of battery power you'll need to print even one device? It takes a lot of wattage to heat those filaments, so will probably require 12v battery, at least, but even then I expect that may be an issue. (But I haven't done the math, so maybe you're ahead of me! :slight_smile: ) You might want to include an option for a solar charger. That way you could run a virtually unlimited amount of time.

Great idea. Will you make an official proposal? (I'm unable to vote on this page... so far.)


Kyle Reeser Sat 22 Jun 2019

@lelandgreen Great idea on the "add-on" bag. In a couple days I'll release a more complete proposal for the 3D printer, and I suspect it will incorporate as many of the tools and accessories needed to make a proper e-NABLE hand right into the suitcase (a mobile e-NABLE lab?), but I think you are spot on in needing an extra bag to carry perhaps 2 spools of filament in the field.

I haven't performed that calculation yet, but I will make sure to generate a "back of the envelope" ballpark estimation. I was thinking of it perhaps being powered from a car battery (in a car) under the assumption that there would be some sort of vehicle that got the e-NABLE volunteer to the remote location in the first place. I'll look into solar, I hadn't considered that either.

I'm very keen on seeing this project move forward so I will do my best to generate a quality proposal for further discussion and vote in the next several days.


Richard VanderMey Sun 23 Jun 2019

If you have a vehicle for travel, why not bring a power inverter that converts battery to AC electrical. It will allow the running of a 3D printer and a laptop or tablet. I also have recommendations for a 3D Printer that would be perfect for a suitcase type device. The DIY by CoLiDo is a simple 3D Printer easy to setup and breakdown, something like an erector set...😀


Kyle Reeser Sun 23 Jun 2019

Thank you @richardvandermey, I wasn't familiar with the DIY by CoLiDo, but it looks like a neat little printer. The trick will be to balance the simplicity and portability of such a printer with the mechanical robustness and print fidelity we require in the field.

The power inverter is idea is a good one and definitely on the table. Perhaps it could have both options (hook the printer direct to a 12V battery or plug in through an inverter/into the wall), there could be situations that call for either.