African inventor makes 3D printer from e-waste
33-year old Kodjo Afate Gnikou has imagination, talent and ambition.
Using rails and belts from old scanners, the case of a discarded desktop computer and even bits of a diskette drive, Gnikou has created what is believed to be the first 3D printer made from e-waste.
Afate has been working on this experimental device for several months. He calls it W.AFATE, a composition of "W" WoeLab, and "Afate".
Afate launched his project on ulule, an European crowdfunding site earlier this year, and raised more than 4,000 euro from supporters. The fund helped Afate support the cost of the original investment in time and equipment. W.AFATE 3D printer is now a working prototype. Some elements had to be bought new but, in all, his printer cost him 100 US dollars to build. Afate says his printer can be useful on a daily basis as it can print various utensils needed in any household, that are not always easy to get hold of in west Africa.
But he believes this model is only the prototype for something much larger. His aim is to one day transport e-waste to Mars to create homes for mankind.
"My dream is to give young people hope and to show that Africa, too, has its place on the global market when it comes to technology. We are able to create things. Why is Africa always lagging behind when it comes to technology?", he asks.
Though some have called him a dreamer, his hard work has paid off as the young inventor has been rewarded with the NASA International Space Apps Challenge in Paris.