The fruits of experimentation
It was a showcase of some of SIT’s best engineering talents at X-periment!, a three-day science and technology carnival, which kicked off the 14th instalment of the annual Singapore Science Festival.
Held at Marina Square Central Atrium from 18 to 20 July, X-periment! was organised in partnership with various tertiary and scientific institutions in Singapore to present to the public the newest scientific innovations through an interactive programme of workshops and hands-on experiments.
At the SIT-Newcastle booth where a 3D printer was on display, visitors were shown the machine’s design-build cycle, as well as the basics of 3D printing. 3D printing is an additive manufacturing process which allows designers to visualise and create their designs by directly printing objects with a 3D printer.
Another promising industrial device that was presented at the booth was a refined version of the quadcopter, more commonly known as a helicopter with four rotors. The hybrid terrestrial-and-air device, whose design was inspired by the shape and function of a bicycle wheel, was created by a group of SIT-Newcastle students for their final year project.
Angus Tang, who spearheaded the quadcopter project, said his team picked the flying device became of its strong potential in surveillance applications as well as search-and-rescue operations. He explained: “The quadcopter concept provides learning opportunities in integrating a holistic mechatronics system in terms of propulsion systems, flight control theories, structural analyses, computer programming, real-time navigation, amongst many more.”
Tang, who graduated in June 2014 from SIT-Newcastle with a BEng (Hons) Mechanical Design and Manufacturing Engineering degree, revealed that the project was fraught with difficulties. “People laughed at our ideas of building such a big quadcopter. We have nothing [to start with], no online sample, no senior [to mentor us]. We had to build everything from scratch,” he divulged.
Nevertheless, the project’s trials and tribulations were worth the while. “I have always enjoyed the process of developing an idea [and turning it] into a commercial product.”