Date of Award


Document Type



Santa Clara: Santa Clara University, 2014.


3D printing could usher in a new age of localized manufacturing in places like Uganda, where three of our senior design team members spent the summer of 2013. Motivated by a concept for our senior design project, one of our team members interned with Village Energy, a small electronics business in Kampala, Uganda, as it piloted the use of a 3D printer to manufacture enclosures for its solar lights. The need for our project arose when we realized that although the 3D printer proved a viable method of manufacturing enclosures, Village Energy could not afford to continue 3D printing with filament imported from abroad. The goal of our project is to provide companies like Village Energy with a solution to the problem of importing expensive filament. We aim to take plastic water bottles (in abundance inKampala but generally burned as trash) melt and extrude them as filament for a 3D printer. We present our filament maker, named the AkaBot. In this paper, we will discuss the AkaBot subsystems, design process, testing process, and results. This project has successfully built a machine that can melt and extrude plastic water bottle shreds, but the filament made from our machine still requires improved mechanical properties. We will also discuss related issues such as business plan, economics, social impact, environmental impact, ethics, health and safety, and sustainability.