We have put together a broad variety of tools and technological processes that allow students to manipulate a wide variety of metals, from aluminium and bronze to steel and titanium. From the bread and butter of any machine shop - the lathe and mill - to more advanced processes such as electrode, MIG and TIG/WIG/GTAW welding, we have the ability to create almost anything.
Our tools and technologies have been tailor integrated into the Innovation Hub with students and safety in mind, allowing us to bring some methods seen mostly in universities, into school down to lower secondary.
Tools are useless without the knowledge to use them: The team at the innovation hub has extensive expertise in a large variety of processes from bending, forming, forging, cutting, polishing - whatever the project requires, we likely know how to do it. If we don't, we are eager to learn together with the students, thus allowing them to see how to address a technological challenge.
We also have contacts in the industrial sector of Romania that allow us to do more exotic things such as plasma and laser cutting metals or complex 3 and 5 axis CNC tasks for advanced GCSE or A Level projects.
As recently as 2021, the Innovation Hub is proud to announce we can add composite manufacturing to our portfolio of technological processes. We can produce moulds for various parts from wings to boat hulls and manufacture them out of carbon fibre, fibreglass, or kevlar. Our methods include simple layup and the more advanced vacuum resin infusion method used in higher-end parts seen in sports-automotive and aviation. Should students have more exotic projects that require this technology, they can now find out how to do it from the start (the 3D model) to finish (the 0.8mm thick, 200g part you can stand on).
3D printing, and rapid silicon moulding, allows students to get a fast representation of their parts and test them before making a final version. We have 3D printers and, for more tricky to model elements, silicon moulding that allows students to take a rubber mould of a fragile part, or a human body part or face, and then cast it in a more resistant material.
Thanks to our large format (2.7x1.6m working area) 3-axis CNC and our smaller "jewellery" CNC machines, we can manufacture large parts and 3D models and moulds in most non-metals well as aluminium. This allows students to create complex parts from 3D models.
To give you an example of the use of CNC manufacturing, all the Covid-19 protective screens used during the pandemic were made on our machines allowing us to produce custom screens to ensure maximum protection.
As part of an A level art project awarded an A* grade, the Innovation hub developed metal casting using the lost wax and the standard sand-packing process. We use green sand made in our workshop. We can cast Bronze, Aluminium, Brass, Lead and Tin. These parts can then be machined and brought to a final finish, whether they are working details or an art sculpture. Students can do the process of casting metals up to handling the liquid metal. This is done exclusively by our staff. Students are able to produce 3D models of their moulds easily and quickly reach a final product using a method developed in the Innovation hub.
3D modelling, design and simulation
Using Autodesk Fusion 360 and Solidworks, we can teach students various CAD and CAM techniques, from simple part design to complex aerofoils and surfaces. Whether you are designing a simple box or producing a wing for a glider, we can help.
We are also able to do aerodynamics simulations and stress simulations using the software mentioned above. This allows students to hone their designs faster, using less material and iterations. The processes we teach here prepare students for what they are likely to face at University and beyond.
We work together with the Computer Science department to bring projects to life, combining electronics, programming, manufacturing and mechanics at our electronics station equipped with soldering irons, electronic components, and standard parts. It is an area tailored for building electric vehicles but is easily adaptable to allow for the creation of robotic arms, mini-drones, mega-high wattage flashlights.
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