Meet the team from CREATE – The UNSW Club for Making Things.
These guys are the most entrepreneurial group of students I have met in my years of working with or attending Universities. As a group they are only about 18 months old but are growing rapidly.
Typically University students learn a particular skill set focused on their major, however the products of our new world are increasingly merging where new classes of devices require sophisticated combinations of Electrical, Electronics, Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Design and then fabrication. Its a team game, no one discipline can hope to master all of the skills needed.
CREATE started off as Student Club to give practical experience for Engineering students, running courses to learn how to program Microcontrollers and Ardunio, as well fabrication skills such as 3d Printing, CNC tools, CAD and other engineering subjects which are well covered in most Universities from a theory perspective but rarely well covered with practical workshops.
When I first did my apprenticeship 30 years ago (yes before most of you were born) you had to do a trade to learn how to make things. Fitters and turners, machinists, boilermakers, pattern makers, they were the makers of yesteryear, and while there were a lot of people who loved their mechanical engineering jobs, no one loved going to the factory everyday as it was in many cases a production line where your job was turning out parts someone else created, rarely being involved in the creation yourself.
Today many of these jobs are being done by machines programmed and operated by extremely smart University graduates or enthusiasts discovering new age ways to do past age work and to create new devices and services (Draftsmen are probably the only ones which are still in demand, but no velum, clutch pens or pen plotters in sight, only Solidworks or Autocad gurus need apply).
This trend will continue to accelerate, if you doubt that your job can be done by a machine run by computer check out this list of old English occupations and see whats left.
Which is why its great that the CREATE team are running these courses and now officially opening their courses to non University students. You can join their Facebook Group here
Once of the things that impressed me was their parts and quadcopter sales. Because a lot of the components needed for their soldering and electronics businesses were not available readily from local suppliers, they put together a float and started buying components in from China, they now run weekly trade stalls for all of the students to purchase the parts they need for their projects.
From this came a project to build a Quadcopter which I wrote about early this year and now after prototyping a few versions they have now sold over $20,000 worth of Quadcopters this year, not bad for a University Club, this will keep them in Beer and Pizza for the rest of the year.
If you think these things are toys you are dead wrong, they have very advanced features including;
- 6 Axis Accelerometer
- Long Distance Radio control with a range of 10 miles
- Fully programable autopilot with mission planning
- Self tuning flight trimming to save the potentially damaging process of launching a new aircraft
- Sophisticated dampened Gimbal for mounting a camera and streaming real time video of the flight back to the user
- Just in case something goes wrong they also have an auto return home function to return the aircraft back to base if they lose radio control.
Watch these guys, they are going to do something special.