Meet James Waweru Maina: Kenyan Second Year Student Who Develops A 3D Printer!!


James Waweru Maina, an Engineering and Telecommunications second-year student developed the machine after keenly watching and studying how the institution’s 3D Printer works.

Since we have a lot of old broken printers inside the institution, I decided to salvage pulleys, belts, and stepper motors which are the main mechanical parts of a CNC router,” Waweru told the Hashtag.

According to the young Waweru, those in 3D printing will also have a chance to use a single machine to laser engrave images and logos on wood, bamboo, leather, plastic, fabric, paper, and other soft surfaces.

“My Innovation will have a mechanism that will allow easy changing of the printing head by either replacing the pen with a laser head, a 3D extruder head or a fine drill,” the Engineering student explains.

Waweru’s modular 3D Printer also referred to as ‘the Multiplotter’ contains three motors, one for the x-axis, y-axis and z-axis.


“The x and y-axis use stepper motors while the z-axis uses a servo to lift the pen up and down. The three motors are controlled by an Arduino board (a single-board microcontroller) which receives instructions from a computer and by controlling the three motors the design on the computer is redrawn,” Waweru adds.

The second year student explains that the users of his product will only need to make their own design on a computer then connect the computer to the machine and a processor which is a software that specifically runs the Java code he wrote for the CNC Router.

He says they can use Inkscape, a free photo editing software that allows creation and export of designs as g-code (a file that contains coordinates of the design).

“What happens is that the Java code reads the g-code file line by line and sends it to the Arduino board where a sketch (a program written to run on an Arduino board) reads the incoming data and converts it to coordinates which then controls the movement of the three motors thus redrawing the original design”, he says.

Though still in its testing phase, ‘the Multiplotter’ was showcased at the NACOSTI 2017 Exhibition at KICC.

According to Waweru most of the help he has received in the development the product, which could change artistry in Kenya have been from his lecturers and mentors, Dr Otieno and Mr Jeff Musyoki.


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