A group of future Navy engineers have had the opportunity to spend a few days in the Navy’s Centre for Innovation, rapid prototyping and 3D printing their way to a thrilling career start.
The officers are at various stages in their studies, from those getting job experience prior to studies at the Australian Defence Force Academy through to those in their final year of engineering degrees.
Among the group was Midshipman Niamh Reading who was provided with a metal part from Fleet Support Unit and tasked to replicate it. She modelled the part using the Fusion 360 CAD software, and 3D printed a plastic replica at the Centre for Innovation.
“I wasn’t expecting to work in a place like this. I enjoyed learning CAD and replicating a real object,” she said.
“Spending the week at the Centre for Innovation has changed my perception of Navy and what my career might be like. It’s really exciting!”
Sub Lieutenant John Wilbraham is the leader of the Australian Defence Force Academy Unmanned Aerial Vehicle team.
“Once I’d finished my assigned work, I was able to model and prototype a new antenna tracker for our team. I was impressed by how quickly I could iterate and improve the design once I had it printed out and in my hands,” he said.
Midshipman Jack Burrows is in his third year of Electrical Engineering at the Academy and was sent to the Centre for Innovation to solve a software obsolescence issue on an older computer.
“It was a challenge working with old hardware and operating systems, but having versatile and high-end PCs to help with problem-solving made the job a lot easier,” he said.
Midshipman Burrows moved on to experimenting with the Arduino electronics prototyping platform, building a programmable digital display.
“I haven’t worked with this platform before so it was great to expand my skills set.”
Centre for Innovation Manager Don Moloney led the group through simple learning exercises, helping them to reach their goals as quickly as possible.
“As the Centre is still quite new, I was thrilled to have such a motivated group jump in and tinker,” he said.
“It allowed us to test our resources, and get valuable feedback on how we’re helping the Naval community to challenge and innovate.
“The group weren’t afraid to test their ideas and have a go. They also did a great job on their respective projects!”
The Centre for Innovation is located at Fleet Base East in Sydney.