Published on 1 August 2014
The Sunshine Coast Imaginarium from 11am on Sunday 10 August will feature displays and demonstrations of cutting-edge engineering technology and teaching resources.
University of the Sunshine Coast Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering Dr Selvan Pather said the day’s activities would include tours of USC’s Engineering teaching laboratory with its high-tech 3D printer.
“What can be designed by the students is now totally open-ended,” Dr Pather said. “If they can imagine and draw it, this printer can create it.”
Dr Pather said USC’s Mechanical Engineering program was structured around design and manufacture, with 3D printing technology providing an incredibly efficient link between the two.
“It allows us to create prototypes, see if pieces fit, establish whether the parts rotate the way they were designed to, check the tolerances: to get things exactly right before we manufacture in metal.”
Dr Pather said students were using the technology to make everything from simple mechanical components and castable moulds, to intricate structures, including a full gear assembly, a small engine and an indexing mechanism.
He said 3D printing meant cheaper manufacturing, much faster production, reduced waste, improved quality and the capacity to create new shapes and structures.
“In terms of what the students manufacture, we leave it to their creativity. Typically, with design, we want them to imagine things. We encourage this as part of their learning here at USC.”
Dr Pather said the Imaginarium tours would also take in the University’s new mechanical manufacturing laboratory, including two computer numeric control machines which can receive machining codes from the classroom and cut metal to create 3D parts.
The Sunshine Coast Imaginarium is a free festival that will feature live entertainment, activities, technology, fun games and sporting demonstrations.
It’s also an open day for prospective students to take campus tours, chat one-on-one with academics, gain career advice and find out all they need to know about starting study.
– David Cameron