As manufacturing processes digitize, there are a number of opportunities for governments, donors, and private sector actors to invest in key economic growth-aspects of the digital ecosystem of developing economies. This document explores the opportunities and challenges presented by  3D printing in international development and humanitarian assistance. While 3D printing (often referred to as digital fabrication) is the focus of this primer, there are a number of other ways in which digital technologies intersect with traditional manufacturing processes, from design to production to product maintenance and servicing. 

The purpose of this primer is to guide actors in the international development community through important key considerations when adopting 3D printing technology in their work. The document features three use cases of 3D printing technology that demonstrate how it is currently being used to make housing more accessible for impoverished communities, circumnavigate restrictive supply chains, and provide low-cost upper-limb prostheses to people in low- and middle-income countries.

3D Printing