Getting job ready: deep dive into rapid prototyping with the Maker Games

A fifth year UNSW Mechanical Engineering student took a deep dive into the world of prototyping when he took part in the Maker Games last year.

What was your Maker Games project?Mitch Evans presenting at the Maker Games finals last year

For the Maker Games, I had the opportunity to work closely with 5B, a solar energy equipment supplier, in developing a low-height solution to manage the vegetation underneath their solar panel array – all while ensuring our solution met the requirements of the brief.. For the project, we had to model a mature concept and present it to 5B as a working prototype. We designed a custom chassis which meant we had to learn how to weld, as there were no market solutions that satisfied the low-height constraint of the solar panels. Another major constraint was ensuring the concept was both autonomous and scalable to allow multiple deployments and reduce the level of human input. This meant our team had to develop a smaller prototype to help refine the programming before scaling it to the larger final prototype.

How has it enhanced your UNSW Engineering experience?

Before taking part in the Maker Games, I wasn’t particularly involved with the university outside of my academic obligations. My experience with The Maker Games has shown me that there is much more to university than just academics, especially in terms of student development and extra-curricular projects. I am more engaged with the university and I have built connections with a number of staff members that are devoted to supporting student projects such as the Maker Games.

Further, I was appointed as the head demonstrator for MECH3110 - Mechanical Design I at the start of 2019, and my experience with The Maker Games has helped me implement a prototyping element into the course. My experience in prototyping helped me guide both students and the demonstrator team to ensure we delivered an informative and useful part of the course.

How are you better prepared for post-UNSW life in the workplace?

After taking part in the Maker Games, I was lucky enough to secure an internship with Aurecon, a global engineering and infrastructure advisory company. The Maker Games allowed me to demonstrate my passion for engineering, and broaden my experience working with industry as well as my hands-on prototyping and teamwork skills in an engineering environment. I also believe that The Maker Games has helped me develop my communication style from a rigid ‘university style’ approach to a more fluid ‘professional’ approach, and I now feel more comfortable in delivering presentations in a professional sense.

I believe that the Maker Games have played a huge role in my development as a professional engineer. The early exposure to working with industry partners is invaluable and a great way to begin networking or possibly gain employment (one our team members is now employed by 5B!). The Maker Games is an experience I will never forget and it has inspired me to take on more engineering related co-curricular projects!

For more information, visit the Maker Games website.

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