Skip to main content
Development of a resilient 3-D printer for humanitarian crisis response
  • Benjamin L. Savonen, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Tobias Mahan, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Maxwell W. Curtis, Michigan Technological University
  • Jared W. Schreier, Michigan Technological University
  • John K. Greshonen, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Joshua M. Pearce, Michigan Technological University
Document Type
Publication Date

Rapid manufacturing using 3-D printing is a potential solution to some of the most pressing issues for humanitarian logistics. In this paper, findings are reported from a study that involved development of a new type of 3-D printer. In particular, a novel 3-D printer that is designed specifically for reliable rapid manufacturing at the sites of humanitarian crises. First, required capabilities are developed with design elements of a humanitarian 3-D printer, which include, (1) fused filament fabrication, (2) open source self-replicating rapid prototyper design, (3) modular, (4) separate frame, (5) protected electronics, (6) on-board computing, (7) flexible power supply, and (8) climate control mechanisms. The technology is then disclosed with an open source license for the Kijenzi 3-D Printer. A swarm of five Kijenzi 3-D printers are evaluated for rapid part manufacturing for two months at health facilities and other community locations in both rural and urban areas throughout Kisumu County, Kenya. They were successful for their ability to function independently of infrastructure, transportability, ease of use, ability to withstand harsh environments and costs. The results are presented and conclusions are drawn about future work necessary for the Kijenzi 3-D Printer to meet the needs of rapid manufacturing in a humanitarian context.

Publisher's Statement
©2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Article deposited here in compliance with publisher policies. Publisher's version of record:
Creative Commons License
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
Publisher's PDF
Citation Information
Benjamin L. Savonen, Tobias Mahan, Maxwell W. Curtis, Jared W. Schreier, et al.. "Development of a resilient 3-D printer for humanitarian crisis response" Technologies Vol. 6 Iss. 1 (2018)
Available at: