FabLabs at the SWC
Highly advanced, groundbreaking research requires new scientific approaches underpinned by specialist and unique instrumentation to acquire data and control processes. The SWC FabLabs support and accelerate innovative scientific research through the design, development and deployment of new research instruments. The FabLabs provide multi-disciplinary engineering expertise, enabling assessment of scientific and technical requirements, proposal and development of engineered solutions.
The dynamic needs of science requires the ability to rapidly design, build and enhance designs as the research evolves. To support such iterative development, a high level of investment in the FabLab facilities has equipped them with state-of-the-art design and manufacturing technologies for the rapid prototyping of electronic, 3D printed and precision machined parts. The combined facilities support scientific exploration far beyond what could be achieved through dependence on commercially available solutions. The Fablabs teams, headed by highly skilled and experienced design and fabrication engineers, additionally facilitate a highly-functional and multidisciplinary 24/7 MakerSpace enabling scientists at all career levels to freely and creatively experiment and prototype ideas.
Pursuing scientific discovery without boundaries requires continuous development of new technologies, the FabLabs support this process through the synergy of imaginative science and creative engineering.
The FabLabs consist of two teams 1) Advanced Manufacturing FabLab and 2) Innovation and Research FabLab. Both teams are multi-specialists in design and manufacturing techniques for processes such as 3D printing, laser cutting and system integration. Specialised disciplines such as electronics development and precision machining are managed by the IRFL and AMFL teams respectively. Both teams utilise standardised digital manufacturing work flows from concept through to the final product. The standardised design software also enables scientists to participate and produce designs suitable for direct manufacture.
The AMFL houses a broad range of manufacturing technologies:
- DMG Mori DMU50 5 Axis Vertical Machining Centre
- DMG Mori NEF400 Lathe with driven tools
- DMG Mori Uno tool setter
- Trotec SP500 200W Laser engraver / cutter
- Stratasys 450MC FDM production 3D printer
- Stratasys J750 high precision polyjet 3D printer
The IRFL houses specialist technologies for rapid prototyping of electronic assemblies:
- LPKF U4 Laser Micro Material Processing (PCB Manufacture)
- LPKF S103 Plotter (PCB Routing)
- LPKF Contac S4 Through Hole Plating
- LPKF Multilayer Press
- LPKF ProtoFlow S Reflow Oven
- LPKF ProtoPrint S Solder Paste Printer
- Essemtec Pantera SMT Pick and Place
The IRFL space for R&D of electronic systems
The SWC MakerSpace facility enables scientists to prototype ideas. The facility houses a broad range of disciplines.
- SP300 80W Flex Dual Laser Engraver / Cutter
- Electronics work bench with full range of tools and measuring instruments
- Aluminium Extrusion Saw with semi-automated cut-off measurement system
- Pillar drill with manual milling capability
- Makerbot Replicator Mini 3D printers.