UP's MakerSpace hosts Manufacturing Systems module award ceremony

Posted on June 13, 2016

On Tuesday, 31 May 2016, the Department of Library Services' MakerSpace, in collaboration with the Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, hosted an award ceremony for Manufacturing Systems (MVS311), a third-year Industrial Engineering module.

In his opening remarks, Dr Lukas du Plessis, lecturer for MVS311, explained that, as part of the module, students had to work in groups and use 3D printing to design and build a device that could be used to improve the life of a person or an animal. Each group presented its final design to a panel of judges, which included Prof Sarma Yadavalli, Head of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering; Prof Schalk Kok, Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering; Mr Isak van der Walt from MakerSpace; Mr Gavin Leggott from Rapid3D; and Mr Gordon Muller, an entrepreneur.

The first prize went to a group of students who utilised 3D printing to improve the traditional walking stick. The group tested their design with students from the Disability Unit, who were impressed by the new product. The group explains that their main purpose was not to reinvent the walking stick, but rather to improve it by adding an attachment that alerts the user to possible obstacles in their way. The first runner up was the Dog Rehabilitation Wheelchair Group, with their design of a rehabilitation wheelchair for dogs with back problems, while the second runner up was the Finger Splint Group, with their design aimed at helping people who have difficulty in moving their fingers. Their innovative double-finger splint design works well and is cost effective. 

Mr Marius Vermeulen, from the Rapid Product Development Association of South Africa (RAPDASA), will sponsor the overall winners' accommodation and registration for the 17th Annual International RAPDASA Conference, which is set to take place at  Vaal University of Technology from 2 to 4 November 2016. The University of Pretoria's MakerSpace sponsored 3D printing worth R250 for the first runners up, and the second runners up each received a 64 GB flash disk.

The MakerSpace is a creative laboratory where ideas are gathered and technical ability is used to execute ideas. The Department of Library Services was the first library in South Africa to open a MakerSpace in 2015.


- Author Mikateko Mbambo

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