Helping Those In Need With A Portable 3D Printed Wind Turbine

3D Printing & Imaging Energy & Sustainability
Helping Those In Need With A Portable 3D Printed Wind Turbine

In today’s connected world, cellular service is often more ubiquitous than the power needed to charge the phones. A few years ago, a post here at Make pointed me to a story about the creation of a simple hydroelectric generator to help residents of small village in Guatemala charge their phones so that they could sell the coffee they were growing collectively as a community.

Now, Kyle Bassett, a PhD candidate at the University of Windsor in Canada, is developing a compact and portable 3D printed wind turbine that can charge cell phones and other 5-Volt devices. Each turbine can be printed in a matter of hours, shipped in a 4″ diameter by 40″ long tube, and installed in about 2 minutes.

Bassett has founded a small company, RMRD Tech, to bring together other like-minded engineers to help improve his design and develop related technologies. Basset has said that he will release the full designs for his wind turbine under an open source license. The hope is that by using an open source license and low-cost equipment like desktop 3D printers, this design can quickly be deployed to communities in need around the world.

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6 thoughts on “Helping Those In Need With A Portable 3D Printed Wind Turbine

  1. James Bryant says:

    The generator appears to be below the turbine in the screen shot at the top of the article. Would it not be simplify waterproofing to have the generator above the turbine?

  2. wookieefuzz says:

    The thing I never get about 3D printed wind turbines is that the basic design of a wind turbine is relatively fixed once you size it, choose an airfoil, etc. The big strength of 3D printing is in customization and responding to changing requirements. For me, this seems like a clear case where a different manufacturing method should be used for final part production. Injection molding seems to make a lot of sense for large numbers of parts. Additive is great for the prototyping phase but can’t compete economically in production costs with a lot of other techniques. It obviously depends on the business model and market size, but I’ve seen a lot of 3D printed wind turbine concepts that seemed like odd uses of the technology.

    That being said, I spent 6 hours last night printing a Yoda bust for no reason other than that it was cool so who am I to talk?!

    1. amyinnh says:

      Centralized large production of anything requires
      – large equity investment

      – manufacturing facility
      – warehouse
      – long distance shipping

      3D printing isn’t just advantageous for prototyping, it’s also beneficial for local manufacture, as needed (no extras/no warehousing), greener on many levels (no packaging/shipping voluminous goods), etc.

      What is economical about building something/anything on the other side of the planet and shipping it everywhere?

      1. wookieefuzz says:

        That makes perfect sense, I guess I was just thrown by the mention of packing and shipping in the article and thought more of central production based solely on that.

        1. amyinnh says:

          3D print of circuit boards in the works, some things still in need of shipping. Current 3D prints in metals and ceramic (bisque, still needs firing). 3D print of cement houses in progress in China.
          Pennies to print most things we buy currently. Take a look at

  3. Oakleys says:

    Determine and slice one 2-inch simply by 39 ½-inch portion from the ¾-inch particle board for the core post which may separate typically the doors.

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Matt is a community organizer and founder of 3DPPVD, Ocean State Maker Mill, and HackPittsburgh. He is Make's digital fabrication and reviews editor.

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