African 3D printer created from e-waste

Signal of change / African 3D printer created from e-waste

By Joy Green / 24 Mar 2015

Kodjo Afate Gnikou, a Togolese inventor working in the Woelab maker space in Lome, created a functional 3D printer in 2013 made almost entirely from cheap discarded electronics, and costing less than $100 in parts. He envisions it as an ecologic and democratic manufacturing technology for Africa. His design has since gone on to win several awards and Woelab is developing plans to use it to start a network of 3D printer cafes.

Image: Woelab

So what?

West Africa has a massive e-waste problem – the world’s biggest e-waste dump is Agbogbloshie in nearby Ghana, a toxic environmental and health catastrophe that receives hundreds of tons of discarded electronics every month from around the world.

Africa also has a massive informal economy of artisans and tinkerers who are skilled at making products from salvaged resources. This 3D printer design has the potential to spread widely and be taken up across the continent providing a means for local digital manufacturing.


Fast Company (2013, October 11). This African Inventor create a $100 3D printer from e-waste 

Woelab W.Afate

What might the implications of this be? What related signals of change have you seen?

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