NMMU students and lecturers create largest 3D printer in Africa

(Port Elizabeth) – Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) may well be home to the largest 3D-printer in Africa. The five-metre tall printer with an ability to print enormous structures across a wide array of transdisciplinary applications is the result of the efforts of a team of student engineers and their lecturers.

GOOD NEWS: Mechanical Engineering intern Jan Hendrik de Jongh, Mechanical Engineering’s Prof Russell Phillips and eNtsa’s Andrew Young, and (front) soon-to-be PhD graduate Sean Poole.

“These printers are normally used to print tiny things, such as parts required in the medical field, but we wanted to print wind turbine blades in a quick way,” says Mechanical Engineering’s Prof Russell Phillips.

“What is novel about this printer is its ability to print enormous structures.” He says the team hopes to try novel print materials and methods towards printing items with more strength than is normal for printed 3D items.

The project, jointly managed by the Renewable Energy Research Group and eNtsa, an institute that using its engineering expertise to seek solutions, has elicited interest from across the University and industry.

The School of Built Environment has even enquired into the use of a modified version of the printer for building houses using concrete. In China complete concrete houses, which are stable for outdoor use, have successfully been printed by 3D printers, says Prof Phillips.

For the full story: NMMU