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Engineering students design and build complex fabrication machine

A team of Advanced Diploma of Engineering students from Challenger Institute of Technology have designed and built a complex digital 3D machining centre.

The computer controlled machine (CNC machining centre) was the product of a year of work by ten Advanced Diploma of Engineering students who designed a unique split-level flatbed machining centre, applying the mathematics, physics and engineering principles acquired through their studies.

This CNC machine is able to be a plasma cutter, 3D printer, mould manufacturer, robot welder, milling machine and more, processing a variety of materials. This is an impressive achievement with patent and new commercial prospects.

“The students have designed and built a large format CNC machining centre that is truly unique. The students’ design skills saw the project delivered on budget and on time. They were able to use advanced design software to achieve this remarkable result,” lecturer Ross Jarvis said.

“This was the most ambitious student project we have ever undertaken and they have managed to deliver a commercially viable complex tool that offers various improvements on existing models, and they’ve done it in addition to their regular course workload,” he said.

Challenger engineering lecturer Ross Jarvis (2nd from left) and staff assistants with the student team.

The project was completed at Challenger’s Fab Lab (Fabrication Laboratory) in Fremantle. Challenger joined this worldwide community in 2012. 

The concept emerged in 2001 at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and since then more than 120 fab labs have sprung up in 34 countries around the world to shares ideas and information about digital fabrication.

While the advanced diploma students have demonstrated their impressive prowess, the Challenger Fab Lab has also provided unique opportunities for North Lake and Halls Head high schoolers to take part in a 10-week course in which they build a 3D printer for their school.

The course, with funding from the School Pathways Program, is part of a scheme to generate student interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the so-called STEM subjects.

Challenger’s advanced diploma has been awarded international recognition by the International Engineering Alliance (IEA), having earlier become the first vocational course of its kind in Australia to be accredited by Engineers Australia.

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