What's the one thing I should know about this site?
If you have the proper equipment, use it! The designs in this site are intended for use in a crisis situation only and should be used on the basis that 'something imperfect is better than nothing' until normal supplied resume.
I am maker / NGO responding to a crisis. Can you help me?
A great reason to talk to us. We may be able to support you with custom designs, help scale up your production, connect you with support or help you fundraise.
So can I use these designs for free?
Yes! All our designs are open-source and free to use. If you feel you'd like to show some appreciation, contact us to let us know what you think of our work, consider donating to 3D Crowd (click 'support us' in the header) or better still become part of our team by testing and designing parts for our catalogue, or helping us reach out to organisations to implement our work globally.
What do you mean by quality checking the designs?
What we can promise you is that every design on this website has been tested (and if necessary modified) for ease of printing, often on several different machines, and that a basic suitability assessment has been undertaken to make sure the design is fit for purpose. Some designs have been through a more formal assessment to their suitability and the individual item will have that assessment noted on the item page.
Whilst our team includes experienced designers and engineers, we endeavour to seek additional feedback from specialists where possible.
We prefer to form relationships with NGOs on the ground so that we can respond quickly and help overcome challenges in the most efficient way possible.
I've tried 3D printing a few years ago and it didn't work for me...
Advances in 3D printing have been massive in the last few years and prices have dropped. Machines are much more usable and reliable, and the different properties of the 3d printable materials have allowed for more flexible, lighter and stronger applications, as well as being more user friendly.
Give it another go and let us help you implement a system that works for you.
Whats the value in 3D printing?
3D printing is a rapid prototyping and production method which requires no investment in specialised tooling for each item produced, other than a 3D printer. We can move a digital computer aided design (CAD) file to the other side of the world to be immediately printed, and design changes can be quickly iterated for improvements. It is not the best method for high volume production, but offers a way to produce and improve lower part volumes quickly and at point of use.
Why not just mass-produce it ?
Mass production methods take time and have high initial tooling costs which not everyone can afford. If you require small amounts of a specific item quickly, 3D printing could be faster and more cost-effective. If you need higher volumes, 3D printing could help bridge the gap whilst you arrange and wait for mass produced orders to be fulfilled.