Engineering at the University of Brighton

head shot of Daniel Barker

Developing a machine that can print 3D, laser cut and CNC machine

Daniel Barker is in his third (final) year of his Mechanical Engineering BSc. We asked him about his final year project which he has recently completed, and his view of life as an engineering student at Brighton.

I’ve just completed my final (third) year of the course, and I plan to pursue a career in mechanical engineering. Specifically I would like to go down the design engineering route.

My final year project was based on the development of a multipurpose machine with the ability to 3D print, laser cut, and CNC machine. This relied heavily on an understanding of the design requirements which was done by researching existing products and other student projects. I utilised a lot of knowledge from my course to design build and test the machine.
The most notable skills which I’ve developed are computer aided design and project management. Project management allowed me to not only produce a detailed design but to also build it.

The main challenge was being able to build my project without access to the university workshops as they were closed due to COVID. I was able to overcome this and enjoyed the build process in my bedroom despite the lack of proper tools and equipment.

I’d recommend the course, it has lots of practical and group projects which is a great way to learn and develop engineering knowledge. Lectures are interesting and engaging and get the students involved instead of just reading PowerPoints.

This year studying was more isolated as it was all done at home which was challenging at times but the lecturers were always accessible via MS Teams to answer any questions. When studying at home I found that having video calls with other students, either about the work or just a general chat, really gave a morale boost.

I did a placement year as a CAD Process Intern in the Airbus Defence & Space Mechanical Design office. During my placement I had the opportunity to work on real life engineering problems and contribute to mechanical design. I also learnt how to conduct myself in an office environment and how to communicate as part of a small team within a large organisation.

During the placement I was doing a lot of design work which required skills which I had learnt during the ‘Computer Aided Design’ module. I also had to use basic principles of forces and material properties which I had learnt in the ‘materials & manufacture’ lectures.

Our last question to Daniel? What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of applying for this course?
Daniel’s advice: It’ll be a great experience, a fun and interesting way to learn and to meet new people. Be prepared to work hard.

Stephanie Thomson • June 10, 2021

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