The trusty adjustable spanner is just one of the items being made by Central’s engineering students on a cutting edge 3D printer set up at the East Perth campus.
Browse any media and you will soon find something on how 3D printing is transforming a vast array of industries. Essentially 3D printing is printing where additive processes are used, whereby successive layers of material are laid down under computer control.
Recognising the revolution, Central has installed some printers which are currently creating a buzz among the Advanced Diploma of Mechanical Engineering students.
To get technical for a moment, one piece of kit, entitled the Makerbot Replicator 2 melts plastic to produce items. The students have recently used this model to create parts of a Strandbeest. A Strandbeest being a mechanism made from PVC capable of moving on its own.
The classroom also contains a much more advanced printer, the Objet 24. This can print layers thinner than a human hair and make models with moving parts, and smooth, paintable surfaces. This was the printer used to manufacture the spanner.
The third printer Central has set up is known as a SLA Machine. This uses a different method again, whereby a laser intersects with a bath of resin to solidify liquid and create the end product.
Central is currently developing short courses to further expand access to this exciting technology.