Thu 20 Jun 2019 11:36PM

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

KR Kyle Reeser Public Seen by 72

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 12:15AM

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 11:31AM



Magi Fri 21 Jun 2019 11:31AM

This sounds like a great project.


Bob Rieger Fri 21 Jun 2019 1:22PM

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 1:43PM

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


Leland Green Sat 22 Jun 2019 11:37AM

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 1:55PM

@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 2:42PM

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 3:47PM

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.