Welcome to the first 3D Crowd project update for 2021!

Firstly, I would like to wish all of you an incredibly happy new year! This past year has been incredibly tough for all of us, but we truly appreciate the work that you have all put in – we couldn’t have done any of it without you. With Christmas and New Year celebrations just gone, our projects have slowed while we have enjoyed this festive season. We have many exciting things planned for the future that will be announced in our relaunched newsletter, coming soon to an inbox near you!

Without further ado, please enjoy our project updates from the 6th January…


Project: Biofuel reactor – Matthew

What is it? Predominantly a means of turning algae into biofuel.

What’s new? After being on the receiving end of an instance out of The Simpsons: Hit and Run (thankfully the car was parked at the time), Matthew has been chatting to Rory about some modifications to the bio reactor and is waiting on some new printed parts so that we can finish the prototype.

What’s next? Once we have these new parts, we can look at redesign and modification. Matthew is still looking at potential funding applications to help expand this project further.


Project: Tetra – Jamie

What is it? Creating open-source solutions to cost-prohibitive medical technology – our current focus is a ventilator splitter.

What’s new? This project is going incredibly well, and we are currently as far as we can get without a PCB which is currently being reviewed by our contacts in the US. Once we have sourced the board, whether from the UK or further afield, then we can look at further assembly.

How can I get involved? As this is such a novel area of research, we are looking for a UK clinician to help us understand how the virus behaves. We would love to be able to test this ventilator splitter soon and will need support to ensure that we have all the necessary requirements to best help those who need it.


Project: Prosthetics (in collaboration with e-Nable) – Ed

What is it? Designing and printing of a range of prosthetic limbs for children both within the UK and across the globe.

What’s new? Fantastic news – we have a working hand! You have to hand it to them; this is an incredible feat. We have had to reorder some parts that were causing issues, such as screws, but we are pretty much ready to start testing.

What’s next? Once we have sent out our first prototype hands, the key thing is to build a strong relationship with those who are using the hands. It is incredibly important to have an ongoing relationship to monitor and support the continual use of these devices. At the end of the day, these are items for kids, and so we’ve started to look at how we could design the prosthetics to reflect their interests – princesses one day, Spiderman the next.

How can I get involved? To best trial our prototypes, we are looking for volunteers to test them out. We are looking at potentially having multiple pieces for different occasions such as rough and tumble, every day, and special occasion, and would like to document the efficacy of these pieces. We would love to hear from those in places like hospitals, care homes, and charities who would like to help us develop and grow this project.


Project: Babel – Rich

What is it? Our database and online catalogue for quality checked, tested, and refined 3D designs.

What’s new? We are at the stage where we are continuing to test the plethora of designs that are out there. Most designs we find sadly don’t meet our high standards, whether they be time or resource-intensive, or simply not suitable for our needs.

What’s next? We are looking to launch a series of mini-projects to get through the backlog of designs that still need testing – essentially, eat the elephant one bite at a time.

How can I get involved? We would love for you to help us by testing out some designs or helping to redesign those that don’t quite meet our standards.


Any Other Business? If you are wanting to be a part of a new project, Matthew was struck by inspiration in the most unlikely of places – a pub bathroom. We are looking at the possibility of creating a foot-pedal operated door mechanism that can be 3D printed and bolted down retrospectively. Armed only with an old drum pedal, a 3D printer, and the limits of his imagination, he will look at how a pulley system can be attached to an automatic closing arm to create a contactless opening mechanism. If you would like to step up to the challenge and help discuss this or any other project, please just drop us a message – I promise we won’t bite!


As always, please feel free to contact projects@3dcrowd.org.uk for any questions, suggestions, or to get involved.