Students hanging around the link-bridge on Monday, 11 July were treated to a nice surprise: a bright orange trailer in the VJC carpark opposite the bus bay. This was none other than SUTD’s Fab Lab Mobile, short for the Fabrication Laboratory, brought to you by SUTD and the VJ Makers Club.
The Fab Lab Mobile, comprising a small container perched atop a 20-foot trailer, is a spin-off of the large Fab Lab located on the SUTD campus, and travels all over Singapore both to promote the university and to inspire future engineers. This week, it is VJC’s turn to host the Fab Lab Mobile and all Victorians are invited to the lab to learn about 3D printing and laser cutting.
Inside the Fab Lab, one will see a lot of machinery that looks complex at first sight, but is surprisingly easy to operate. Mr Zhen Hui, from SUTD, is also stationed at the lab to explain and teach students about how the equipment works.
The 3D printers take up a majority of the space inside the trailer, alongside the laser cutting equipment, making for a very immersive experience. The products of the 3D printing were also showcased on the tables.
As soon as the doors opened on Tuesday, there were queues of Victorians waiting to enter the lab. Whenever you came out of the lab, you would be accosted with questions of “Is it crowded? Can we go in?” Victorians were genuinely intrigued and wanted to check it out. They also flooded the SUTD staff with questions. In particular, Caleb Cheong of 15S46 was noted as asking, “Can a 3D printer print a 3D printer?” — surely one of the biggest questions on Victorians’ minds. The answer to that, as eloquently explained by Mr Zhen Hui, was that yes, the frame and shape could be printed, but it may not necessarily work as the printed material would just be in the shape of a printer and may not serve the electrical functions.
Meanwhile, the location of the trailer also tickled 16A11, whose favourite hangout at the stone tables was directly adjacent to the trailer. “What are they trying to do,” mused Jarod Zulkifly Yikai, “putting a science trailer in front of an arts class?” Nevertheless, by the end of recess, curiosity had gotten the better of them as they also went in to have a look.
In addition to just checking out the facilities in the lab, Victorians are also able to print and laser cut their own designs! Just remember to follow the steps outlined in the email, reproduced here as follows:
1. Download Autodesk 123D design from http://www.123dapp.com/design
2. Create your design. Note: Your design preferably should have a flat base.
3. Export the file as a .stl file. [File > Export as 3D > stl.]
4. Save the file in a thumbdrive and you’re good to go!
There are various tutorials that can be found online on how to use the program. An add-on to it includes 123D Catch, where you can simply turn multiple images of an object into a 3D design. http://www.123dapp.com/catch
123D Design and 123D Catch are also usable on your phone, just search for them on the App Store or Google Play. Note: there are also various other programs which you can use, as long they enable you to export it in a .stl file format.
For laser cutting, 123D design can also be used. Files should be exported in a .dwg or .dxf file format. [File > Export as 2D > dwg/dxf]
The Fab Lab Mobile will be open from Tuesday to Thursday from 11am to 4pm, and from 1pm to 4pm on Friday. Once again, special thanks to SUTD for providing us with this wonderful opportunity with these technologies!
Ryan Ch’ng, 16S47