3D Printing for Development in the Global South: How Localized Manufacturing Can Benefit Poor Communities By Causing Positive Social Change

While visiting the FabCon 3.D in Erfurt earlier this year we assisted to a series of interesting speeches that were part of the official program. One speech that stood out in particular, was the ‘Fair Trade Filament – Why does it matter?’ by William Hoyle, the Chief Executive of a UK-based NGO called Techfortrade. Techfortrade aims to leverage technologies (such as 3D printing) and innovation in order to improve the livelihoods of some of the most needy communities around the world.

In October this year, Hoyle and co-author Birtchnell released a new book: 3D Printing for Development in the Global South. Learning about this release, we contacted William who provided us with a short synopsis of the book:

Will 3D printing alleviate poverty to any meaningful extent in the Global South?

From the international 3D4D Challenge in 2012 to social enterprises in India, Haiti and Iraq, Thomas Birtchnell and William Hoyle delve into the world of 3D printing for development in the Global South. Together they discuss the potential which the technology offers to communities in developing countries and the work that is still to be done to maximise the promise of localised manufacturing and the circular economy.

Can “bottom up” manufacturing through 3D printing benefit poor communities and prevent continued cycles of aid which offer temporary relief but limited long term solutions?

With a foreword from Adrian Bowyer, creator of the RepRap Project, the book uses international case studies, beginning with the 3D4D Challenge, to explore the next industrial revolution. The studies highlight the ideas emerging in 3D4D, addressing the “Goldilocks” zone of factors that need to come together to enable mass adoption in developing countries.

The book gives a play by play of the Challenge from conception to finale, with profiles on the challenge’s seven finalists and an in depth view of the international workshops which brought contestants together to share and expand on ideas. From the competition presentation at London’s 3D Printshow to the ventures using additive manufacturing around the world, Birtchnell and Hoyle will introduce you to the spirit of design, making and rabodé with the iLab//Haiti, 3D printed children’s sunglasses in Guatemala and fair-trade filament from recycled waste plastic in India.

An engaging introduction to 3D printing for development, this work is well worth a look for anyone interested in this potentially limitless technology, international aid and the future of personalised manufacturing.

3D Printing for Development in the Global South


3D Printing for Development in the Global South is available for purchase on Amazon both in hardback and Kindle form.


Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 3 comments
susan marks - November 29, 2014

This is the kinda thing I enjoy seeing 🙂 Thank you for the inspiration.

    Yves - November 29, 2014

    Thanks for the feedback Susan. Couldn’t agree more, concrete examples of how 3D printing can help improve lives provide plenty of inspiration to keep working in this space.

Book Review - 3D Printing for Development in th... - April 6, 2015

[…] This book seeks to answer the question: will 3D printing alleviate poverty and benefit poor communities to any meaningful extent in the Global South?  […]


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