3D printing is an additive manufacturing method whereby a 3D object is created from a digital model. 3D printing is done by sequentially laying down thin layers of material to build up the object.
The advantage of 3D printing compared to other manufacturing methods is the ability to create more complex shapes with less waste material.
As there are many different technologies available for 3D printing, it is a really versatile method of manufacturing. 3D printing is predominantly used in rapid prototyping, but can also be used to create consumer products, scale models, movie props, and even devices used in the medical industry.
There are many different technologies that can be used for 3D printing, such as SLA (resin printing), FDM (plastic filament printing), or SLS (commonly used in metal 3D printing). The Makerspace offers FDM printing to all students/staff at the university, at a cost of R3.00 per gram of plastic used. The amount is determined by our technicians once they processed the given 3D model.
The Makerspace technicians are also here to offer expert advice in the design and printing of your request. This serves as a major support role to research departments across various faculties.
Before we elaborate on the services we offer for 3D Scanning, let's first elaborate on what 3D Scanning is and how it can assist you for your project.
3D Scanning involves the process of analysing an object present in the real world. Data is collected in order recreate the shape of the object, accurately creating the appearance and, in newer scanners, the colour of the object as well. From this process, a digital 3D model is created that can be manipulated in the 3D project that you are working on. Some real world applications of 3D scanning from the MakerSpace involve the scanning and object recreation of albatross wings for use in aerodynamic simulations for the Mechanical Engineering department. Some of the more casual applications of 3D scanning can involve the scanning of a person, thus creating a miniature model of the person which can be 3D printed as a gift.
Now that we have a basic understanding of 3D scanning, let us further elaborate on the services that the MakerSpace offers for its clients.
We offer a total of 3 primary services for 3D Scanning, namely:
These services are elaborated on a bit more below.
Please do note that we offer these services to all students and staff members of the University of Pretoria. There is also no cost involved when requesting 3D Scanning services from the MakerSpace, thus this service is free to use for all clients.
Using our EinScan Pro, we are able to take large objects, greater than a meter in cubic size, and 3D scan the object. This is our legacy scanner that we have used since 2018, and it still performs exceptionally.
This may be the option to choose if your object to be scanned is firstly, an object, secondly, larger than a meter in length, and you require rapid 3D scanning of an object for near immediate usage at a high resolution.
Standard object scanning is completed utilising a Creality Cr-Scan 01. This is our newest scanner and produces extremely accurate 3D object scans. It also has object and turntable tracking available to ensure that the object is scanned on all of its sides to compile the full object.
This is the standard 3D scanner that we assign for a clients 3D scanning objectives. It has easy-to-use software and different attachments that ensure that your 3D model encompasses all the required specifications of your object.
People and bust scanning provides a more casual and fun way of using 3D scanning. The scanner utilised for this is the Creality Cr-Scan 01. This form of 3D Scanning is different from the others listed above in that you are scanning a person over an object. Due to this, the person being scanned is required to stay still during the scan. The upside to this is that you can then 3D print yourself for recreational purposes.
This is for people who would like to get used to 3D scanning or for a gift. It's easy to use and a great way to get hands-on with 3d scanning. The object you scan is already ready for 3D Printing afterwards, a service also offered by the MakerSpace.
Three-dimensional (3D) models depict a physical body as a collection of points in three-dimensional space connected by geometric structures such as triangles, lines, curved surfaces, and so on. 3D models can be built manually in a CAD Software or using algorithms (procedural modelling), or by scanning since they are a collection of data (points and other information). Texture mapping can be used to further characterize their surfaces. 3D modelling is particularly useful in manufacturing as it allows the user to edit the design digitally, rather than requiring a physical object.
While the Makerspace does not offer 3D modelling as a service to clients, we do assist the students with resources to aid with the process, as well as advising students on how their models will be 3D printed.
AutoDesk: TinkerCAD - https://www.tinkercad.com/
FreeCAD - https://www.freecad.org/
3D Builder – Inbuilt into Windows 10 (or install from the Microsoft store)
Blender - https://www.blender.org/
Fusion 360 - https://www.autodesk.com/education/edu-software/
If you are unsure about 3D modelling with the aforementioned software, or need a digital version of something that someone might have already modelled, you can also find models available on the internet.
The Makerspace provides a variety of hardware tools for students to use, including a drill, dremel, soldering stations, hot glue guns, and more. We also provide the necessary protective equipment to use our tools safely.
Here are some of the ways that students can use hardware tools in the Makerspace:
The Makerspace is a great place for students to learn how to use hardware tools and to create their own projects. If you are interested in using the hardware tools in the Makerspace, please contact us to learn more. You can also come in person to see our available tools for yourself and meet our technicians.
Students are required to wear the supplied protectinve glasses and gloves while using hardware tools. Makerspace Technicians will not be held liable in the event of injury.
IoT, or the "Internet of Things," refers to the network of physical objects, devices, vehicles, buildings, and other items that are embedded with sensors, software, and connectivity. This enables them to gather and exchange data across various communication networks, such as the internet, WiFi, radio, or wired connections. In essence, IoT allows everyday objects to communicate, share information, and be remotely controlled creating a vast interconnected ecosystem. At the Makerspace we offer our visitors the opportunity to learn and use microcontroller and microprocessor kits which are at the heart of any IoT based project. We offer various platforms for study such as Arduino, Biomaker, microbit, M5, and Rasperry Pi.
This field is similar to the fundamental principles of computer engineering, as it encompasses two major skills associated with IoT development for hobbyists. The first skill involves software, which includes coding and comprehending microcontrollers or microprocessors at a surface level. The second skill pertains to hardware, which encompasses components like sensors, motors, LEDs and etc. While this might seem intimidating, there's no need to be apprehensive. Thanks to the rapid surge in popularity of IoT kits such as Arduino, both facets of IoT development not only have ample online references to facilitate understanding but also feature a lot of beginner-friendly electronics. So, don't worry, you won't find yourself designing your own PCB anytime soon, unless, of course, you wish to.
Getting into and learning how to code, even if it's just for the purpose of IoT development, has never been easier as it is now. There are multiple resources available on youtube. Multiple free websites that offer courses on coding in nearly every language used in industry and by hobbyists. Even if you dont want to learn how to code in depth, you can always find someone out there in the world who has made a project similar or exactly the same as yours. They would have posted the details of all their 3D prints, written code and sometimes even give a detailed step by step explanantion of everything they've done. In these scenarios online resources like, www.w3schools.com, will come in handy to teach you about what every line of code means so you can edit it to suit your needs. However, it should be stated that coding for an Arduino and coiding for a PC are a little different.
Free Coding Courses:
These are a few of the many online resources one can use to start learning how to programme Arduino and Arduino based boards. To get started you will also need to install an (Integrated Development Environment) IDE for programming. Fortunately Arduino has developed it's own IDE and has made it open for other board manufacturers to use, hence the term "Arduino based". If you decide to purchase a different type of board, make sure you know which IDE it may require. Arduino's IDE also comes with a long list of example code and builds you can learn from.
*version 1.9 and above has had some issues connecting to some arduino based boards. We recommend you test both the legacy IDE and the newest version especially, if you are experiencing any issues with connecting your board.
Hardware in IoT development refers to a range of things From the board you are using to the types of peripherals (sensors or actuators), and any of their control circuitry. Typically hobbyists and beginners use Arduino or Arduino based boards which are cheaper. These boards often come in kits that feature a wide range of peripherals like infra-red or ultra-sonic sensors, motors, LEDs and etc. Each of these peripherals often have their own circit board attached to the actuator or sensor. These breakout boards are great for beginners because the majority of the complex work is done by the manufacturer. They typically attach 3 pins, 2 for power and one for control. This makes it easy to use because all you have to do is connect the correct pins to the Arduino and you are good to go.
This system is typically only useful for very rudimentary systems. Since the number of pins on the Arduino are limited some research and learning will be needed to get a better idea on how to create more complex systems. The start off point for most people is getting a breadboard, resistors, an LED and some jumper wire. The link below is to a playlist of youtube videos that covers the basics of electronics.
Simply Electronics Basics by Simply Electronics
We recommend you be very careful whilst following any tutorial, as you can easily find yourself in a place that is beyond your depth. When you do, take a deep breath and google it. There are always simple alternatives for the hobbyist level of electronics and, quite conveniently, there are multiple forums online that have professionals answering question posted by beginners like Stack Exchange for both coding and hardware solutions.
The makerspace stores some arduino's, arduino based boards, and others like Raspberry Pis and microbits for anyone to come in and use. We also store a range of peripherals and some basic electronics like breadboards and LEDs. This is available so people can familiarise themselves with the IDE, the board they test out, and any of the peripherals we have available in the makerspace.
The makerspace techinicians will also be available to help with any coding or hardware problems for people who are trying to learn how to use the IoT development kits, this is limited for course related work. We also exclusively offer students the opportunity to borrow arduino based boards for a few days. However, this depends on a few factors and are evaluated on a case by case basis. Other than the borrowing of Arduino kits the above services are open to all including people external to the universty.
If you know of or represent a high school that does not have a robotics program. The university offers an annual robot school which runs from April to September for Gr 8 to Gr 11 students. If you would like to participate in the robot school initiative or donate some components please follow the link below to their website:
Tuks Robot School
If you would like to request any of the services offered by the makerspace or if you have any general enquiries please use the link below to email us.
The Makerspace Technicians are available to provide consultation to clients on a variety of makerspace-related topics, including:
The Makerspace Technicians will not give UP students the solutions to their academic problems or do their academic work for them. However, we will provide guidance and support to help students reach their goals.
The Makerspace offers a variety of training courses for students on how to use the tools and equipment in the space. These courses are designed for students of all levels of experience, from beginners to advanced users.
Training presentations must be organized with the Makerspace managers. We do training on the Makerspace 3D printing, 3D scanning, IoT, and Hardware services, giving a basic as well as in-depth insight to how these technologies work and what you can get out of it, as well as how to use it.
We also offer customized training for groups or individuals, tailored to your specific needs.
To learn more about consultation or training, please contact the Makerspace Technicians.