The Hublab, the makers laboratory
It is an environment open to everybody, and lives in synergy with the coworkers and with the academy. The location is equipped with ADSL, WiFi and with a 3D printer, CNC milling, small hardware like Arduino, BeagleBone, Raspberry, digital oscilloscope, signal generators, welding stations, bench power supplies, drill press, workbenches, service electronic and mechanical equipment, and furnishing.
The Hublab activities will continue and will become more and more alive in the digital laboratory at Palazzolo Digital Hub, located in a branch office at the Galignani Foundation in Palazzolo sull' Oglio.
Newly opened in September during Palazzolo Digital Festival, the Hublab is coordinated by experts of great professional ability, who have decided to make their expertise available in order to help new specialist professionals to grow: tomorrow’s future makers (the digital artisans).
On Friday afternoon, a small group of students went to visit the Hub Lab where two mechanical engineering students are making prototypes for mechanical hands thanks to a 3D printer. Indeed, their long-term goal is to create a hand that will help amputated people to recover their sense of touch.
They explained to us their project step by step. First, they have been studying the movement of hands and then, they started drawing up digital drafts of the different pieces that will form the mechanical hand. They are using a specific modeling software to do so. The next step in this process is the programming of the 3D printer, meaning that the student gives instructions to the printer concerning the dimensions, for example, of the specific parts.
After explaining the process, the student gave a live demonstration of how 3D printing works. We got to see the 3D printer, which was actually a lot smaller than we had expected. We were shown the different parts of the printer and it was explained how each part works. We were also shown how to make adjustments to the settings before printing.
Finally, the live demonstration started. The printer was allowed to heat up and then the printing commenced. It took only five minutes for the printer to print a 3D piece…it was quite amazing to see this process. The piece itself is made from thin layers stacked one on top of the other. The printing was continuous, there were no stops from start to finish of the printing process. Once the piece was finished, we asked different questions to the engineers. They came across a genuinely selfless, caring people, who had a great passion to help disabled people. They are in the process of introducing their produced to an amputee. They hope this will enable the individual to near full use of their limb, and it will also give them the chance to see how well their product works and to continue developing their business.
This visit was really incredible and impressive. Indeed, we have been welcomed by two passionate students. They are dedicated to their project and took time to explain to us what they do. They hope to be ble to offer 3D mechanical hands in the next 10 years.
We wish them the success in their work.