Pitching Kuunda 3D to Airbus

On September 26th, Kuunda 3D founder, Elizabeth Rogers, pitched our business model to Airbus in the Airbuz Bizlab #Africa4Future competition supported by Novato Africa. We took part in this pitch day as Airbus was specifically looking for African startups in the areas of:

  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
  • Satellite Operations and Imagery
  • 3D printing
  • Smart Sensors
  • Artificial Intelligence

The finalists included 8 Kenyan companies, 1 Ugandan, 1 Ethiopian and 1 from Sierra Leone. It was an inspirational day as all the startups are doing impactful work with innovative technologies.

Kuunda 3D pitching at BizLab Africa
Found Elizabeth Rogers pitching Kuunda 3D printing at Airbus BizLab at Kenyatta University

Unfortunately Kuunda 3D did not win the competition, but we were given great feedback on the pitch presentation and congratulations for already successfully operating in Tanzania and Kenya. A Kenyan company, Illuminum Greenhouses, won the competition which includes a trip to Airbus Bizlab headquarters in Europe for mentoring and access to investors. Congratulations for their success!

Kuunda 3D at BizLab
Receiving our certificate as a finalist for Airbus BizLab Africa

Kuunda 3D is proud to be among East Africa’s best startups using innovative technologies to create real impact. We look forward to further developing our impact projects in a sustainable manner. Get in touch if you’d like to collaborate or support us!

Airbus Bizlab Competition
Kuunda 3D at BizLab Africa


Advanced Materials for 3D Printing…Continued

Continuing on from our last post on Advanced Materials for 3D Printing in which we discussed the uses of Nylon, Polycarbonate and PVA, we’ve got more to share here.

Flexible or TPU 95A

Flexible filament is used in a wide range of applications. It’s a rubber-like filament that comes in a range of flexibilities, or shore-hardness ratings. If it’s rated a 40 or 45 in shore hardness (like the Innofil3D Innoflex40/45), then it is more flexible than a higher shore hardness (like the Ultimaker TPU 95A).

Really flexible filaments, like the Innoflex40, generally work better on a direct drive 3D printer system (with the filament feeder located right before the hotend, so the filament is basically pulled into the hotend, such as on the Tinkerine Ditto Pro) than on a Bowden tube system (with the filament feeder located at the back of the printer, so the filament is pushed through a tube some distance before the hotend, such as on Ultimaker printers). For Bowden system printers, we recommend using semi-flexible materials (higher shore hardness).

These materials are great for:

  • End use products like mobile phone covers
  • Components of other printed products like finger tips on prosthetic hands or rubbery insoles for shoes
  • Miniature ties, drive belts and bracelets


Special Filament – Metal Based

There are now a number of composite metal-based 3D printing filaments available on the market. These filaments mix metal into the plastic filament, allowing fantastic metal-like printed results. With all of these composite filaments post-printing processing is key in order to achieve the metal finish desired.

ColorFabb offers Steel, Brass, Bronze and Copper-based 3D printing filament which allows the user to achieve amazing prints. Most of these require an upgrade from the standard brass nozzle on the hotend to a hardened steel or harder metal in order to not destroy the nozzle in the printing process.

SteelFill filament by ColorFabb

Special Filament – Carbon Fiber

There are filaments available (XT-CF20 from ColorFabb is one) that are reinforced with carbon fibers. This filament is therefore perfect for parts which need high stiffness. They also print with a great matte finish as expected from carbon fiber.

Hardened steel nozzles are a must with carbon fiber filament!

Car printed with XT-CF20 carbon fiber filament by ColorFabb

Special Filament – Glow in the Dark

Glow in the Dark is a fun filament that appears off-white in normal light, but glows in the dark. It’s great for hidden features on prints, or anything Halloween themed! It’s made from PLA so prints as if using standard PLA.

Glowfill filament by ColorFabb

Special Filament – Wood and Bamboo Composites

Finally, there are other composite materials that give other properties to the filament. Wood or bamboo fibers are mixed with PLA (about 30% fibers in most cases) to make a wood filament that is printable. You can sand your prints just like they are wood, and even get the freshly sanded wood smell!

WoodFill filament by ColorFabb


Have questions or want to get your hands on these filaments yourself? Email us at info @ to learn more!

Advanced Materials for 3D Printing

Great advances have been made in the last few years with 3D printer materials (the filament, or ‘ink’ for 3D printers). Because of advances in filament technology, and partnerships with 3D printer manufacturers, more materials and colours are now printable.

We always recommend new users to start with PLA (poly acetic acid), as it’s easy to work with, safe for use anywhere and available in a wide range of colours. This maize-based bioplastic is the go-to material for 3D printer users, but there are so many more options now available.

Nylon (Polyamide)

Nylon is an industrial-grade impact and abrasion resistant material that’s used in manufacturing. It is durable, strong, has good flexibility and low friction and is corrosion resistant. It’s great for tools, functional prototypes and end-use parts.

  • High strength-to-weight ratio
  • Low friction coefficient
  • Resistance to alkalis and organic chemicals
  • Available in black and natural


Polycarbonate (PC)

This advanced material is excellent for engineering and manufacturing purposes. It is strong, tough and has high temperature resistance.

  • Stable up to 110C
  • Flame retardant characteristics
  • Available in white, black, transparent (can thus get translucent prints)
  • Recommend using the Advanced 3D printing kit with this material



Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) is a water-soluble material that is used in dual-extrusion printing to print supports. This means that you can simple dissolve away the support material, rather than removing it manually. In addition to making support removal easier, this allows for the printing of complex models that need internal supports.

  • Dissolves in water
  • Works with other materials like PLA and Nylon
  • Allows for endless possibilities for mechanical parts
  • For use on the Ultimaker 3


We’ll discuss other Advanced Materials in another post. Email us at for assistance in choosing your materials and to order from us.


3D printed prosthetic

3D Printing Prosthetic Hands

Lake Victoria Disability Centre in Musoma, Tanzania, recently upgraded their 3D printer to an Ultimaker 2+ that they purchased from Kuunda 3D. The engineers and technicians at LVDC had been using a Prusa i3 Hephestos 3D printer that they assembled from a kit in Musoma. They contacted us to purchase an Ultimaker 2+ because they wanted to upgrade to a more reliable 3D printer from a local company. Because Kuunda 3D is based in Tanzania and Kenya, we are able to provide local support, including technical support, warranty extension and supply of spare parts.

In addition to the extra reliability of the Ultimaker 2+, the technicians are now able to print WAY faster than on their previous printer.

What took 44 hours to print on the Hephestos printed in 10 hours on the Ultimaker 2+!  The team can print 4 times as many hands with their new printer!


You can watch Rajab from LVDC talking about his project here.

i3 hephestos
44 hours
Ultimaker 2+ #3
10 hours

We at Kuunda 3D are very happy to support these amazing projects and innovators using 3D printing to improve lives in Tanzania.

LVDC receives support from Enable the Future and the Scottish Government. They print this Flexy-Hand by Gyrobot:

Saving the Go-Karting Day with 3D Printed Parts

go-kart piece

A few weeks ago a client got in touch with us for an urgent request…there was a go-kart race coming up that weekend and a crucial piece of the go-kart was broken. They wanted to know if we could print them a replacement part in time for the race on Sunday.


The client was able to provide us with a 3D printable 3D model (like a CAD file) on Friday evening, and we printed it on Saturday while we were giving a demo at the Gadget Shop, at Sea Cliff Village in Dar es Salaam. Unfortunately, half-way through the print, the power cut and we had to start again. We still had time though and their part was printed and ready for pick-up by 5pm 🙂

The piece fit perfectly and was used in the go-karting on Sunday!

go-kart on

We printed this piece on an Ultimaker 2+, with 100% infill and supports on the bed, to make it as strong as possible in PLA plastic.

go-kart printing

Announcing the Winner of the 2017 Ultimaker Education Challenge

Ultimaker has just revealed the winners of their global Ultimaker education challenge, and we are proud to announce that the International School of Moshi, Arusha Campus is the winner of the East African region! The school has been awarded an Ultimaker 2+ to carry out a student project, led by Design & Technology teacher Paula Elsley, that is intended to develop skills in technology, engineering, science and math.

Students will use 3D design and printing to develop a better solution to farming methods in Tanzania. Their objective will be to design and create a seed planter that reduces the burden on farmers and will instead be attached to the back of a cow. The planter will disperse seeds along a field as the cow moves. We are happy to have been able to help ISM implement this innovative project and wish Paula and her students the best of luck in carrying it out. We are excited to see the results of this project and look forward to more projects that will use 3D printing in innovative ways to foster development in East Africa. We would also like to thank all the schools in East Africa that participated in this competition.

Contact us if you have any inquiries into how you can use 3D printing to develop your business or turn your ideas into reality and we will be happy to assist you!

Kuunda 3D Takes Ultimaker to a Tanzanian Village


In November 2016, a team from Kuunda 3D Tanzania took our Ultimaker 2Go 3D printer on an adventure into rural Tanzania. There were several goals of this trip: 1) test whether a 3D printer could be used in a rural village with intermittent electricity, dust, and no computers 2) test whether it’s possible to teach and demo the concept of 3D design and printing to average villagers and 3) gather ideas for new models and designs that could be printed to benefit village life.

Our team (Co-founder – Elizabeth Rogers and Marketer/Translator/Photographer/Driver – Kayvan Somani) headed to Kahe Town, located in the plains of Mt Kilimanjaro in northern Tanzania. As Kuunda 3D is based in Dar es Salaam, we had to drive over 500 km to reach the village. Unfortunately, we had a number of car breakdowns along the way, ranging from tire punctures to a radiator cover exploding, which delayed our visit by three days! Eventually we made it to Kahe Town, about a 45 minute drive on a dirt road from Moshi Town, a typical stopover point for Mt Kilimanjaro hikers.

Ultimaker in the car

The first stop for the Ultimaker 2Go was at TPC Limited, one of Tanzania’s largest sugar estates. There, we met with an NGO called TPAA (TPC Parents Against AIDS), that works with women and families affected by HIV and AIDS. When we first arrived, there was no electricity because the sugar estate’s power plant was undergoing maintenance. Fortunately we were able to start the demo and the power came back while passing around printed samples and explaining the concepts. It’s a little bit difficult to explain 3D design and 3D printing in Swahili, as the language does not contain words for 3 dimensional! However, Kayvan, did a great job at first explaining the concept of length, width and height in Swahili, and then proceeded to explain how this small machine can take 3D designs that are created on a computer and create real physical objects in plastic!! From our experience teaching 3D printing in Dar, we’ve found that it’s best to just show this in action and so we just started printing. We printed a simple sewing measuring tool, as it was a quick 15 minute print on the UM 2Go and we thought it could be a useful tool for the women.

3D printing at TPC

While the Ultimaker 2Go was printing, a number of primary school students dropped by to see what was going on. Kayvan showed them the prints and explained how the machine worked as best he could. They were most interested in the toys, such as the airplane, as it’s harder to come by plastic toys in this area of Tanzania.

3D printing Tanzania

At the end of the session the women came up with a list of items they thought could be 3D printed and would be useful for them. A few of these were:

  • Plastic flowers
  • Earrings, bracelets, necklaces (with customized names)
  • Hair pegs, clips, brushes, combs
  • Kitchen utensils, dishes
  • Chairs, tables, dustbins
  • Buttons

After a delicious and welcoming lunch hosted by the head of TPAA, Mama Quiga, we headed back to Kahe Town for our next session. Elizabeth was on her own as Kayvan had to take the car into Moshi to fix yet another puncture! So our Kahe host, Abduli, led the translation and training session for a group of Mt Kilimanjaro porters and motorcycle mechanics. Again, there was no electricity, but this time we didn’t expect it to come back any time soon. So…we connected it up to one of the villager’s solar panel systems, which he usually uses to power his lights and TV when the power cuts. The power consumption of the Ultimaker 2Go is similar to a TV, so we were able to run the 15 minute print off the inverters with no problem! We think this is indeed a first – running a 3D printer off a solar panel in a rural African village 🙂

3D printing teaching in Tanzania

Once again, the demo generated a list of ideas of what would be useful to print, some of which were:

  • Light switches
  • Light bulb holders
  • Bag locks
  • Clothes pegs
  • Spare parts for bicycles, cars and motorcycles
  • Plastic shoes

Everyone we demo’d to was very impressed by the technology and excited to potentially have access to it. The groups generated almost 50 different ideas of what could be printed and we expect more and more ideas to come as they get used to the concept of 3D printing. We plan on creating the 3D designs for the best of their ideas and then printing and sending the items back to them to try. The hope is that we can find an organization to donate a 3D printer to the TPAA group so they can print and sell items of use to their community. Please get in touch if you’d like to be involved in this project!

Kuunda in Tanzania

Thanks to Ultimaker for supporting this project.

Thanks also to Abduli Hemedi of Kilimanjaro Backcountry Adventures, and his parents, for hosting us in Kahe Town and arranging the demonstration sessions at TPC and in Kahe.

Special thanks to Kayvan Somani for helping out in so many ways! Without Kayvan’s donation of his time and driving and translating skills, this trip would not have happened.

New Cura Software Available!

With the recent launch of the Ultimaker 3, a totally updated version of Cura has been released. This new version of the software is optimized for Ultimaker 3, but can still be used for other UM printers.

Cura 2.3 contains pre-saved materials profiles that are optimized for use with Ultimaker filament. This takes much of the guess work and optimization time out of 3D printing.

It also contains lots of new features, and one of our favourites is the gradual infill which allows you to start off with very little infill and end with more (to give you good internal support for a roof, but using as little extra filament as possible).

Check out all the features on the Ultimaker page here!

Guest Blog: 3D Printing with Special Filaments

This post is from one of our customers, Gowtham, who is using special filaments to make some amazing products, like mobile phone cases. Enjoy and thanks to Gowtham for sharing his experience & thoughts with us!

3D Printing in General:
I did not have any previous experience 3D printing apart from taking an introduction class a couple of months ago and reading journals and websites about the development of the industry. My decision to buy the 3D printer was purely entrepreneurial. I wanted to make a change in the everyday market with 3D printing for the public. I’ve been printing art, jewelry, accessories for electronic items. I’ve also made quite a start in the medical industry too. I can say 3D printing is like an addiction. As you get more and more perfect prints I feel like I should keep on printing and trying with new and different combinations and filaments. I found the most difficult part to master in 3D printing was to model an object from scratch. Although the others are relatively easy to master with experience I found that modeling with softwares was quite a challenge as we have to use two different softwares to get the perfect STL file. I would say if you have any thoughts about 3D printing at all start it right away. It’s the one stop for all the industries and it’s just a small step away from a big revolution. It’s a wonderful investment and a good skill to have mastered in the future. I don’t have any advice being a beginner as such but I think it’s easy to learn in a couple of days and we can master it as we print more.

Printing with ColorFabb WoodFill & GlowFill:
In my opinion, the Ultimaker Extended 2+ printer redefines the quality of 3D prints. Exotic filaments with the printer make the printing outputs even better. The WoodFill from ColorFabb is an admissible addition to the 3D filament industry. Making it possible for prints to look like wood carved sculptures is has lesser cons than the pros. The only problems we have to face while printing are mastering the settings to get the perfect prints. WoodFill is a bit more fee flowing than normal PLA. Since it tends to get clogged easily a nozzle bigger than 0.4 is highly recommended and also not to let the filament stay in the nozzle for long without getting extruded is also an important point to be noted. The prints mostly come out to be perfect if the settings are mastered. As far as the GlowFill is concerned, the same goes with the settings but since it could cause severe damage to the normal brass nozzle we use for PLA, a steel nozzle is highly recommended. The white colored print that glows at night is definitely a worthy ‘try’ experience to any interested individual in modern architecture and 3D printing. This material mimics white and exhibits fluorescence at night and also gives an interesting experience during printing.

ColorFabb WoodFill
ColorFabb WoodFill

Designing & Printing Custom Parts

A few weeks ago a piece from our luku (pre-paid electricity meter) machine broke, so we decided to put our 3D design skills to the test by designing a new one instead of going through the tedious process of replacing the entire machine. Using a pair of digital calipers and 123D Design software, it only took five iterations to re-create the piece. We ran into some issues trying to get the piece to lock down perfectly into the ridges at the top and bottom of the slot. However, with some experimentation we were able to design a piece that fit perfectly into the slot and was strong enough to hold the batteries down. Watching the piece sit perfectly inside the machine was a pretty satisfying feeling after all that hard work!


3D printing allows you to conveniently prototype products and produce multiple iterations quickly. Let us know if you have a broken or missing part in any of your appliances or other products and we can design you a new one.