The following article, originally published at “Motherboard – The VICE channels”, presents the first 3D printer made from e-waste:
“Members of the WoeLab community have invented the world’s first 3D printer made almost entirely from e-waste, built computers with discarded electronics inside plastic jerry cans, and are in the process of repurposing a discarded fridge to house a work station.
In 2012, Sénamé Agboginou founded Woelab whose concept is “to make ‘low’ high tech”. In other words, “to develop very high tech projects but with what we have in our hands. Projects which are not high cost and that every person can have and projects which are adapted for our culture.”
The architect has spent several years working on designing modern living spaces in rural settings inspired by traditional west African mud structures, and says he was keen to replicate the communal, environmental approach in an urban area.
“In traditional systems people work together and build together,” he added. “If someone in the village has to build his house all the village come and help—it is the same thing in the hackerspace. The waste and recycled material are very helpful for this. E-waste is a very frugal material because those materials have an old life but they have the aspects you can use.”
Lalle Nadjagou, who is part of the latest cohort at WoeLab, is working on his newest electronic creation: a miniature 3D printe. For him e-waste is an exciting material to use: “It is a very good thing to recycle, it grows up your spirit and your mind,” he said. “For my own printer it is the same principle as the other 3D printers we know, apart from printing rubber, I want to print circuit boards.” As he added, “for this product it is a test and with this I can produce little things and if I succeed I will be able to produce other things in the future,”.
Nadjagou is hoping his creations can follow in the footsteps of the W.Afate, the groundbreaking 3D printer WoeLab designed in 2013 by repurposing electronic waste.
After buying a Prusa 3D printer which the group put together on site, Agboginou said community members were inspired to design their own version.
“We built this 3D printer together which was brought from abroad and after this we began to think how can we build a new one based on what we have in our hands,” the 36-year-old said. “One of the members said I think we can do this with e-waste and everyone laughed. But he had this genius idea.”
Raising $4,000 via a crowdfunding campaign, WoeLab set to work on the 3D printer project, incorporating elements of computers, scanners and other electronics into its design, which resulted in the W.Afate printer, named after WoeLab member Kodjo Afate Gnikou.”