3D printing and robotics technologies empower young Filipinos to lead innovation – Manila Bulletin

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Filipino ingenuity is known for its brilliant and innovative spirit, including a trait called diskarte – a combination of skill, creativity and ingenuity – which extends to many fields.

However, in the area of ​​higher value-added product development, such as electronics and mechanization, this creative potential has been stifled by the lack of R&D support and the scarcity of modern laboratory equipment.

It was this ongoing challenge that gave birth 7 years ago to Makerlab, a startup that sought to make the materials and equipment needed by local innovators highly accessible to students and professional product developers. Materials and equipment have come to include, especially those needed to spread 3D printing technology.

Given its mission, Makerlab recently partnered with the Department of Science and Technology’s Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMCen) to promote research and development, harnessing 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing.

AMCen and Makerlab push for rapid prototyping, access to 3D printing technology

AMCen is DOST’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility and state-of-the-art prototyping lab. It aims to improve the country’s competitiveness in the manufacturing sector, serving as an innovation hub for advanced manufacturing, industrial design and rapid prototyping.

Rapid prototyping refers to the rapid manufacturing of a physical part, model, or assembly using 3D computer-aided design (CAD). The creation of the part, model or assembly is carried out using additive manufacturing, or more commonly known as 3D printing.

“Through the 3D printing community, I found out that AMCen is the premier prototyping base in the country. We reached out to them and formed a partnership that would give more people easy access to 3D printers affordable,” said Mike “Jassen” Sy, founder and CEO of Makerlab Electronics.

Innovation should be exciting, not intimidating

When people hear the words “additive manufacturing” and “3D printers”, they quickly become intimidated due to its high cost.

“People have traveled to AMCen to receive training in the use of high-tech equipment, including the use of 3D printers. This is where Makerlab comes in, to lend its expertise and lend some of our most cost-effective 3D printers.Not only are our 3D printers affordable, but they are also durable and deliver the same quality results as our more expensive competitors.Our goal is to show people and encourage everyone, that they can get started and afford to buy their own 3D printers, without breaking the bank,” said Sy.

Some of Makerlab Electronics’ 3D printers and sample 3D prints.

Inspiring young people to true local innovation

Makerlab, through its very affordable 3D printers, allows young people to use their creativity to literally print incredible things. Filipino innovators can now create what they invent and envision.

To further support this endeavor, Makerlab Electronics recently participated in Metals and Engineering Week 2022. Attendees explored the AMCen facility and what it offers. It opened their eyes by giving them access to valuable information on additive manufacturing and 3D printing.

“We want to eliminate the idea that 3D printing is only for the rich. We have machines that can be purchased at an incredibly low price. Our products are for families and those who want to start their 3D printing business. We anticipate that many Filipino households will have 3D printers used by their children for school and other projects in the near future,” Sy said.

Education is about encouraging students to learn, not just through books, but more importantly, through experience and experimentation.

Dr. Mark Christian Manuel, AMCen science and technology researcher, former dean of mechanical and manufacturing engineering, and additive manufacturing enthusiast, has proven that 3D printing is very useful in the school curriculum. He has used 3D printers in his practice and has been a big push that 3D printers are now affordable. Students can now virtually print whatever they have in mind using 3D printers and learn by trial and error until they become 3D printing experts. In fact, through the AMCen, Dr. Manuel wants this knowledge to be used and applied in the K-12 program as well.

“The path to adoption in the Philippines, as many know, is not straight. Filipinos often face many obstacles and challenges. Despite this, Filipinos persevere and adapt. Under the right conditions and a early exposure to technology, I believe we will welcome many people who will shape the future of our industries. At AMCen, we are ensuring that our students now have access to 3D printing with Makerlab as our strategic partner,” said Dr. Manuel.

AMCen animators join the Makerlab team to promote 3D printing.

As the country tackles the digital divide, the AMCen and Makerlab partnership will pave the way for the promotion of additive manufacturing and 3D printing and finally provide better access to this previously unaffordable technology, both for individuals and for companies.

“We want to be the first choice for Filipinos when they think of 3D printers, whether for personal or professional use. Our goal is to make 3D printers as affordable and as accessible as possible for every Filipino,” said Makerlab’s Sy.

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