It’s the start of a new year for UBC Rapid. We have new projects planned, several new members, and another year’s worth of funding just came in! We’d say it’s time to give everyone an update on our progress over the summer and into the start of this year.
What has happened so far this year?
The biggest thing we would like to report is that we have finally written a governance document for our team! We defined member expectations, how people are elected to team positions each year, and several policies for our team are now written down and defined. Work on the document was done over the course of this past summer, and has been fully voted in and agreed upon by all members. We’re quite enthusiastic about this going forward, as we hope the structure it provides our team will facilitate a more efficient team this year, and increase member retention.
Additionally, last week we got the results from our application for funding from PAF (the Professional Activities Fund). We did very well on our application for this year: we were awarded $ 2,539.33. With an additional $500 in funding from APEGBC, we have a total of about $3000 to spend on team projects this year, which is fantastic.
We would also like to thank our new sponsors that have worked with us over the past year. Although all of our sponsors this year are listed on our sponsors page, we’d like to take the time to talk about them on our front page! The first to offer us sponsorship at the beginning of this calendar year is Zaber. They were founded in 1997, and has it’s offices right here in Vancouver, 30 minutes away from UBC. The company hires many students in the UBC Engineering and Science Co-op programs, and many of it’s full time employees are UBC Alumni. Zaber makes precision linear motion devices, some of which can be used in the construction of rapid prototyping devices. We have received several pieces of hardware from Zaber, including a box full of stepper motors, which are incredibly useful for every single one of our projects. In addition we received a $500 in funding that went towards project funding towards the end of last school year.
Our next new sponsor is IGUS. Primarily a plastics company, IGUS makes bearings, bushings, and several varieties of linear rail systems. They also make a unique type of filament for 3D printing, which is apparently suited for printing bushings and bearings. Although we have yet to try this filament yet, we look forward to seeing results with it, as it allows for a few more types of parts to be 3D printed, putting us a step closer towards a 3D printer made entirely out of printed parts. Check the filament out here. IGUS has kindly provided us with some free parts which we used in our latest 3D printer.
The last major thing to happen this year is that we have been running workshops for new members of our team again. We have done a couple sessions dedicated to bread-boarding and soldering, and have done a safety and lab orientation session as well. In the breadboard and soldering sessions everyone made TV-B-gones, which are devices whose sole purpose is to turn any TV on or off. They look a little bit like this:
After the circuit is breadboarded (pictured above), it is then soldered onto protoboard, and then in future sessions we will be using Solidworks and 3D printing to create custom enclosures for the device.
Whilst this week we ran no training sessions for our new members, we are hosting a Solidworks session next Thursday. We hope to see many of the new folks having fun and working on projects soon!
What do we plan to do over the course of the year?
With updates out of the way, it’s time to get onto the more interesting stuff: what we plan to do this year. So far our plans are thus:
- Last year we were able to convert one of the liquid handling machines we had stored for a couple years into a CNC milling machine. We are just starting to try out actual cuts with it now, and are slowly learning how software for milling works, as it’s a little more complicated and involved than 3D printing is. We hope to get this prototyping device fully functional and producing parts for future projects by the end of the year.
- Two new printers were also built, and we have parts around for a few more this year. We are undecided with what model our newest printers will be.
- We are also continuing work on a Steriolithography printer, which 3D prints parts out of a UV curable resin. This makes very small parts well and with a high degree of fidelity.
- Continue work on the filament recycler, perhaps getting to the point where we can dump a bunch of pellets in and walk away, having it completely reliable and automated. One of our new team members Tim Branch has taken interest in working on this and we’re excited to see what gets done!
That’s it for now. Look out for another update towards the end of term!