Think Globally. Act Locally. Our Collaboration with Autodesk Foundation

Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF) was one of the recipients of Autodesk Foundation’s Pro Bono Consulting program, which connects skilled Autodesk employee volunteers with nonprofits and entrepreneurs working together to solve social and environmental challenges.

Helping People Imagine, Design and Make a Better World

The Autodesk Pro Bono Consulting program was designed to engage Autodesk employees worldwide around a product need that cuts across different areas of solving social and environmental problems.  Autodesk employees work over the course of several months with nonprofits selected through a rigorous application process.  We feel lucky to have been selected and to be in company of other incredibly impactful organizations.

YTF’s engineering and design team worked with three Autodesk employees; Andrew Ward, Melanie Thilo and Dylan Smith.

The scope of engagement on the YTF-Autodesk Pro Bono Consulting program was to modify a Gas Leakage Monitoring Device (GLMD) prototype developed by our students. The device senses leakage of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) used mainly as cooking gas in households, and notifies the owners of any gas leakage to avoid fire outbreak. This device is necessary due to the rapid increase in the number of households and businesses that uses LPG as fuel. 

Product development and manufacturing has always been one of the biggest challenges in the Hardware Ecosystem in Nigeria.   YTF’s 3D Africa program is on the forefront of creating makerspaces focusing on product development and growth for startups.  By so doing, we are changing the mindset and culture from “Aid to Africa” to “Made in Africa” and encouraging local innovation that addresses local needs. 

Deliverables of the project

The success of the project was based on these deliverables;

  • A walkthrough with our design team on the new design recommendations and workflow.

The Autodesk team led our team on design thinking using the Human Center Design process.   To note the different design considerations both for 3D Printing and injection molding, we improved on the process of design for manufacturing using the Autodesk Fusion360 and PCB design using the Fusion Electronics and Eagle CAD. 

Human-Centered Design (HCD) is a method of creative problem solving and embracing human-centered design means believing that all problems, even the seemingly intractable ones, like poverty and clean water are solvable.

  • To optimize the initial prototype design to make it more affordable for the local community.

The Initial Prototype

In designing the new product, one of the most important requirements was that the product would be affordable to most and that it had an uninterruptible power supply. Our team embarked on re-designing and consistent iteration on the initial design of the first prototype with the guidance from the Autodesk team, removing a few unnecessary components that could inflate the cost of production while ensuring its optimal functionality.

The final result of the new prototype

One of the major achievements on the YTF-Autodesk engagement was that we were able to save about 73% of the initial cost of production reducing the production cost from N52,440 (114.65 USD) to N13,800 (30 USD).  This was huge!

In each of our meetings with the Autodesk team, they empowered us to think about efficiency, quality with less raw materials to realize a better user experience, return on investment and a more innovative experience overall.  

YTF’s 3D Africa teaches youth to bring their innovative ideas to life while designing for manufacturing and 3D printing. 

Thanks to the support of Autodesk Foundation, our engineering staff at YTF, our interns and students will be better equipped to bring their solutions to life and to take their ideas to market while maximizing the impact on the world.


Written by Cyril Iheanacho, Program Officer for 3D Africa at YTF.  Other team members included Odinachi Nwankwo and Clinton Obioha.  To learn more about our work and impact at 3D Africa, send us an email at or visit   

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