It is called the ENVIZAGE:LAB and it is the first of its kind to be established in Australia.
The new technology lab is the brainchild of engineer Dr Michael Myers OAM, a Fellow of Engineers Australia, who is focused on making leading edge technology available to SMEs.
The ENVIZAGE:LAB features a range of 3D design and manufacturing equipment which are designed to operate safely in a business office or workshop environment: multi-axis Denford lathes, machining centres, routers, GCC laser cutters, vinyl cutters, Makerbot 3D printers, a digitising scanner as well as manufacturing software.
“For Australia to continue to be a nation of innovators it is vital that understand the technology being used by the rest of the world. Especially in the area of 3D design to manufacture. Big business can afford this technology and all too often small and medium businesses miss out. This is why I have taken the time to source the best products from around the world, which are priced for small business, and bring them together in one place,” says Dr Myers.
Dr Myers says the ENVIZAGE:LAB is both a physical and online resource. The techno-lab is located at Castle Hill in Sydney where business owners, product designers and engineers can see the equipment in action.
“The ENVIZAGE:LAB is a centre of collaborative technology. A demonstration to industry of what equipment is available, how it operates and the outcomes they can expect from it.”
Dr Myers says knowing about this equipment and using it will help companies to become more competitive on the local and world stage. New ideas can be turned into finished products faster and with much less development cost.
“I want to give as many people as possible the opportunity to understand the connection between conceiving an idea, developing it as a three dimensional object in design software and then manufacturing it via a range of methods and materials - be it using a desktop 3D printer or machining it from plastic, wood or metal with a multi-axis router or machine centre, or by etching it from a block of material with a laser scanner.
Dr Myers says he is very excited about the new range of Makerbot 3D printers and digitising scanner.
“I have been involved with 3D printing since its infancy in the nineties when I established an Advanced Manufacturing Facility. Some of our projects included making replica skulls of crania facial patients for surgeons at the Royal Adelaide Women's & Children's Hospital, customised surfboard fins for multiple world champion Kelly Slater and specialist engine parts for Toyota rally cars.
"Today we are seeing industrial designers, product developers and engineers using desktop 3D printers because they are low-cost and very quick. They are helping them see their ideas as physical models the same day."
Dr Myers plans to establish other ENVIZAGE:LABs across the country.