P19462: Solar Powered 3D Printer


Project Summary Project Information

Fusion Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D Printers require resources such as reliable power and a specialized plastic filament. In Colombia, and other developing countries, the power supply can be inconsistent, and in some areas is nonexistent, so a new solution for 3D printing is necessary. In 2017, an RIT MSD team developed a 3D printing solution that combined solar energy and battery storage to overcome an unreliable power grid system. However, the solar power unit that was designed did not function as intended.

The key goals of the project are to make improvements to the existing solar-powered 3D printer developed by RIT students in 2017. The power management system should be made robust and the printer should fail gracefully when power cuts out. It’s desired that the printer accept pellets rather than filament and include additional functionality such as milling or laser cutting to increase utility. Finally, the printer should be easy to package, assemble, disassemble and transport to Cali, Colombia. The resulting solution should ideally be sustainable with easily obtained local materials. This project hopes to encourage and nurture innovation in children in Colombia and enhance ongoing education efforts with 3D printing technology.

For an updated project description, click on the following link for the Project Readiness Package.

2017 Imagine RIT project presentation

2017 Imagine RIT project presentation

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Project Name
Solar Powered 3D Printer
Project Number
Project Family
Sustainable Technologies
Start Term
2181 (Fall 2018)
End Term
2185 (Spring 2019)
Faculty Guide
William Nowak
Primary Customer
Dr. Marcos Esterman
The Bill Hard Fund; RIT Global; Fundautónoma; Universidad Autónoma de Occidente
Supplemental funding provided by a gift from Harris Corporation

Team Members

Solar Team 6: Aaron, Alex, Leah, Rob, Sienna, Olo

Solar Team 6: Aaron, Alex, Leah, Rob, Sienna, Olo

Member Role Contact
Robert Mejia Project Manager rym7708@rit.edu
Lawrence Holden Lead Engineer lah5116@rit.edu
Olohirere Jennifer Aruya Computer Engineer oja6360@rit.edu
Leah Jones Electrical Engineer lxj7882@rit.edu
Aaron Edelman Electrical Engineer aje3254@rit.edu
Sienna Fisher Mechanical Engineer slf1413@rit.edu

Work Breakdown: By Phase


Planning & Execution

Project Photos and Videos

Imagine RIT

Gate Reviews

Problem Definition

Systems Design

Preliminary Detailed Design

Detailed Design

Build & Test Prep

Subsystem Build & Test

Integrated System Build & Test

Customer Handoff & Final Project Documentation (Verification & Validation)

Work Breakdown: By Topic

Project Management Design Tools Design Documentation Implementation Validation Presentation & Dissemination





Risk Management

Communication & Minutes

Problem Management

Use Case


Functional Decomposition

Morphological Chart

Pugh Concept Selection


Mechanical Drawings

Electrical Schematics

Software Diagrams



Test Fixtures


Test Plans

Analysis Results


Test Results

Design Review Documents

Technical Paper


Imagine RIT Exhibit


Mike Buffalin, Director of The Construct at RIT

Dr. Denis Cormier, Earl W. Brinkman Professor and AMPrint Center Director

Dr. Chris Hoople, Senior Undergraduate Lecturer in Electrical Engineering

Dr. Robert J. Stevens, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Energy & Environment Option Lead