NMMU FabKids - 06 September 2011
Tuesday the 6th of September we were faced with many challenges given out to us by the fablab programme which helps learners think smart and outside the box. The first challenge set to us was to assign each group member to a job. When assigning people to jobs personality plays a vital role. The jobs at hand were a managerial position, who was to lead the group and control, design engineer which requires the most creative of minds, an administrative person who would be the scribe and lastly a spokesperson. The main obstacle of the day was to build a small auto-mobile that can go down a 600mm ramp and stop before a 300mm mark after the ramp. The same car has to be able to go down a 600mm ramp and go past a 600mm mark made on the desk after the ramp. This challenge required a proactive mind with a big imagination but fortunately for my group we kept or eyes on the prize and overcame the challenges. The fablab experience is a memorable one and I recommend it to all fields of engineering. The report is presented by Siviwe (manager) on behalf of the group.
We were made to realize that being a university student especially doing an Engineering course is quite an honour . There are hundreds of thousands of people who would like to be where we are but because of some unfortunate situations they can’t. Privileges and honours come with responsibility.
We were also given a challenge of designing a car that can overcome two challenges the first one is to be able to travel a 600mm distance and stop, the second one is 300mm and stop. We were divided into four groups [teams].Some of the groups managed to accomplish the challenge but some couldn’t. My group had brilliant ideas and we worked very well together but we couIdn’t finish the challenge reason being that we didn‘t trust our ideas, we would come up with brilliant design but just before we reach an implementation stage we would start hesitating and V come up with another one. So when the test stage arrived we were so exhausted and our last design was unfortunately not up to standard and we discovered too late that our first design was the best. `
We learned a lot from that challenge. Some of the lessons we learned was enormous amount of time and effort required to design. We also learned the lessons of team work listening to others and sharing ideas with them. We learned that we all have different ways of seeing and doing things, different ideas and talents but when we put them together we can come up with something phenomenal.
On the 6th of September we were given a task of designing and constructing a car made from card board ,we weren’t allowed to use any adhesives or glue to assemble the car - parts together ,What a challenge it was but we had to think out of the box and put our minds together .First of all for us to build up the final product, team work was required ,coordination ,writing ideas down ,draughting before building the actual car. Restrictions were made that we had to comply with and requirements of the car . It took a lot of time to actually come up with the whole design and how the car would come to stop after reaching the required distance, it wasn't easy but decisions were made based on the majority .Time wasn‘t on our side as we started because we were a bit confused but we finally catched up. There had been so many mistakes, trials and errors but we all learnt from it, And not forgetting the use of a laser machine that was quite interesting, fascinating and out of this world . KnowIedge was one of the major things that we had grasp as we Left the premises.
The FABLab was an excellent learning experience, and put individuaI’s group work capabilities to the test. We as a group felt that instructions and restrictions that were put in place were not clear from the beginning, and many problems could have been cleared if a clear instruction was given, ruling out all "illegal" factors, i.e. car must stay intact during all testing, unlike some group's whose break was their car falling apart. The drawing program took a while getting used to, and can be substituted for a better program where individual parts can be created without the need of other shapes/Figures, for instance Inventor or AutoCAD could have been used, making designing easier, and allowing for better designs. The cardboard material was easy to use, and the laser cutting machine made cutting the cardboard quick and easy. It was a worthwhile learning experience for all involved and can be an important part of educating students.
24 First Year Industrial Engineering students from the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth took on the challenge of producing a vehicle that could travel down a ramp (600mm) and cover a minimum distance of 600mm on a flat surface. Once this was achieved the challenge was to travel over a shorter distance of 300mm and stop the vehicle before it fell off the edge of the table. Cars had to be designed using the press fit concept as no glue was to used. Wooden dowels (2mm) were provided and no other material could be used.