make1Casey Rogers is a UC Berkeley student and the Co-President of the university’s student-run makerspace, the 3D Modeling Club. He’s also the recent winner of the 2015 Make the Unmakeable Global 3D Printing Challenge. This challenge, sponsored by both FATHOM and GrabCAD, had hundreds of submissions from 19 countries and 4 continents. In order to qualify, all of these entrants had to design 3D printable drone accessories that highlighted one or more of the following qualities: design freedom, structural optimization, and advanced manufacturing. Also, the design had to demonstrate an “impactful purpose in a specific industry.” What exactly did Rogers design that had him winning the grand prize: a $15,000 uPrint SE professional-grade 3D printer? And what did he do with the 3D printer?

According to Rich Stump, FATHOM’s Principal and Co-Founder, Rogers’ design “really embodied what the challenge is all about.” His Quadcopter Universal Gripper for the Horus Drone was an object that could not be manufactured using traditional methods (one of the challenge’s submission criteria). Rogers explains how 3D printing allowed his design to come to fruition, and how he intended to “leverage the strength” of 3D printing as opposed to simply making something printable:

horus“The organic branching structure and complex geometry of the arm reduces weight while maintaining strength but cannot be manufactured using traditional methods because of its intricate shape. I also used living hinges in the landing gear by leveraging 3D printing’s ability to print in multiple materials. In each component of the design there is one or more ways 3D printing was used to improve the component over a comparable traditionally manufacturable part.”

One industry that Rogers suggests his design would be good for is construction, but he also has other ideas about its applications. He asks us to “imagine a quadcopter with arms at the front for manipulating and soldering wires in addition to the gripper at the base.” This quadcopter could apply the gripper to the top of a cell tower on an adjacent bar or pole and use the gripper to hold itself in position “while the arms on front perform repairs to the cell tower’s equipment.” According to Rogers, a quadcopter gripper could also attach to a high tree branch and “saw the branch off using a sawing mechanism attached to its front.” These are interesting applications that Rogers suggests are “universal.”

MTUC-Casey-Blog-PolyJet-Parts2We are beginning to see how Rogers’ design won him the grand prize of that $15,000 uPrint SE professional-grade 3D printer, right? And that’s not all, folks. Upon hearing the news that he was a finalist in the challenge, he told FATHOM that he would likely donate the printer to the 3D Modeling Club (3DMC), and that’s exactly what he has done. Rogers explains his reasoning for this decision:

“Our maker space is an interesting and unique group. We’re about half computer science majors, half miscellaneous humanities majors. The space has given a lot of people, including myself, a glimpse into this really exciting new technology that our curriculum otherwise wouldn’t have provided.”

This 3D printer, which is being delivered by FATHOM next month, is the most advanced piece of equipment for the 3DMC UC Berkeley space so far. You can read more about plans for the printer here. Onward, young tech innovators! Discuss in the Casey Rogers Donates 3D Printer forum over at 3DPB.com.

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