How a West African lab made a 3D printer from toxic e-waste


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A lab in Togo, West Africa, is behind 3D printer made from e-waste

Creators say it is the first 'Made in Africa' 3D printer

CNN —  

Electronic waste is (literally) a mounting crisis in Africa. Digital dumps made of junk phones, computers and TVs shipped mostly from richer Western countries are growing across Africa, burned producing unhealthy and hazardous gasses.

The problem is only getting worse. Fortunately, though, there are those working at a community level to raise awareness about e-waste and put it to some good use.

An innovative lab in Lomé, the capital city of Togo in West Africa, is one such group. They’ve created the first “Made in Africa” 3D printer using e-waste.

WoeLab, a community tech hub established by architect Sénamé Koffi Agbodjinou, 37, made the machine using little more than scrap printers, computers and scanners.

The idea was born after Agbodjinou purchased a 3D printer for the lab. Upon seeing this, the young innovators based at the workshop decided to build their own. “We wanted to see how we could build a new one but with our own resources,” Agbodjinou tells CNN.

In 2013, after a year of collaborative work, they had produced the first 3D printer. Now they have 20 finished products and other labs in Africa are following suit.

3D printing success