Active in supporting young engineers through Northern Ireland, Laser Prototypes are working closely with Overall Winner of the Northern Ireland Young Engineers competition, John Neill to bring his design to life in advance of the Big Bang Fair.
Beating off tough competition from over 150 entrants, John Neill is the youngest ever pupil to achieve the Northern Ireland Young Engineers award and will be representing Northern Ireland at this year's Young Engineer for Britain competition with his innovative product KeyCall (a unique device which uses GSM technology to help keyholders locate misplaced keys by allowing them to 'ring' their keys from a landline or mobile phone).
Early models created on the college 3D printer allowed judges gain an understanding of the mechanics and overall function of the KeyCall product. Unhappy with the aesthetic finish offered by the 3D printer and eager to display a more realistic representation of the final product, John enlisted the help of Belfast based Laser Prototypes.
Laser Prototypes is the longest established Rapid Prototyping bureau in the UK and Ireland, offering customers across a wide range of industry sectors high quality 3d models of new product designs. Working with Laser Prototypes, John was able to source a more realistic representation of his final design.
Upon receipt of the 3D computer drawings, Laser Prototypes ran the files through specially design software that sliced the file into a series of 0.1 mm thick 2D cross sections. The revised file was then sent to print on the firms Stereoligthography (SLA) machine. A UV layer draws the first cross section onto a vat of liquid resin, hardening the resin on contact. Once the layer is complete the platform lowers to allow a new layer of resin and the next layer is drawn. This repeats layer by layer until the 3D model is compete.
Once built the model looks and feels like a final production part. John was able to further customise his design with full finishing and painting offered by Laser Prototypes in house team of model makers. Speaking on final model John said "Laser Prototypes has brought my idea to life, the material and colours are just fantastic. The opportunity to visit the company and see the entire range of processes involved in prototyping was amazing".
"Northern Ireland has a large pool of highly talented young engineers, with the STEM initiative an excellent tool in encouraging students to pursue a career in Engineering. Laser Prototypes have a strong partnership with education in Northern Ireland and actively seek to develop students understanding of rapid prototyping technologies. Having worked closely with John over the past few weeks we are confident that the future for Engineering in Northern Ireland is bright and we wish him every success at this year's competition." commented Campbell Evans, Sales Director at Laser Prototypes.
The prototype models will form part of John's overall presentation at the Big Bang Fair taking place on the 15th - 17th of March.