CatSU FabLab to benefit local inventors, product developers

A CNC ROUTER is among the several high-tech equipment provided by DTI to the Fabrication Laboratory at CatSU’s Pedro G. Tabuzo Bldg. recently. The computer-controlled machine can accurately cut a variety of materials, including aluminum, plastics, wood and others based on a given design. Here, CatSU Pres. Patrick Alain Azanza is given a briefing on the machine’s capability by DTI Catanduanes Dir. Ma. Belma Escueta.

Aside from being an instructional tool, the high-tech equipment turned over by the Department of Industry (DTI) for the Catanduanes State University’s Fabrication Laboratory will greatly benefit inventors, designers and product developers in the province.
In his remarks during the Oct. 8, 2021 launching of the second Shared Service Facilities (SSF) established by DTI in partnership with the university, President Patrick Alain T. Azanza said the FabLab is not for play but to instruct and develop many ideas for research and innovative days of using the techonology.
He urged that local government units be made aware of the CatSU FabLab so that the imagination of the youth, especially those enrolled in STEM and TLE who are more creative than adults, will be tickled.
Not only will the equipment provide new sources of income for small enterprises but it will also allow the academe to do research, with the results shared to the public, Dr. Azanza averred.
DTI Catanduanes provincial director Ma. Belma Q. Escueta bared that the purpose of the FabLab, the fourth established in the Bicol region, is to discover endless possibilities for technology-driven designs and products that people can make use of so that new MSMEs can be created and thus benefit the local economy.
Also present at the Pedro G. Tabuzo building which houses the FabLab were College of Industrial Technology (CIT) staff headed by Dr. Edwin Romero, SSF manager Ma. Monette Tugay, and 24 trainees composed of students and some local fabricators.
The FabLab equipment costing about P5 million are composed of a Markforged Mark TwoCarbon Fiber 3D Printer (P1.5 million), ZMorph all-in-one 3D Printer (P588,500), Anycubic 3D Printer (P68,000), HanMa Laser Cutter Engraver (P580,000), and Tormach 24R CNC Router (P1.86 million), with the Ansys Space Claim Software that would run the machines costing another P340,000.
The Carbon Fiber 3D Printer can be used in the creating design prototypes for testing and in manufacturing tools and parts, including automotive spare parts as the material used is said to be stronger than plastic.
Using different plastic filaments, the all-in-one multi-tool 3D printer is also capable of Computer Numerical Control (CNC) cutting and engraving of all kinds of wood, polycarbonate, acrylic glass, PVC foam, modeling boards and other materials. It also can do laser engraving of all kinds of wood, leather, and copper laminate; laser cutting of paper, cardboard felt and thin gasket materials; and thick-paste printing for chocolate, cookie dough, cream cheese, frosting and ceramics.
The CNC Router is designed to accurately cut a variety of materials including aluminum, plastics, wood and more, while the COS Laser Cutting and Engraving machine will be used for cutting and engraving barcodes, serial numbers and logos on bare metal and etch plastic parts and tools.
On the other hand, the desktop plastic 3D printer can multiple print simultaneously and is applicable to automotive, education, entertainment, tool and dye, electronics, manufacturing, engineering and medical uses.
Under the memorandum of agreement inked last Oct. 8, the DTI grants CatSU free use of the SSF for the duration of the agreement, with the university to operate and manage the SSF in accordance with the guidelines.
Upon the expiration of the two-year duration of the MOA, the DTI may either require the return of the equipment or transfer the same to the local government unit or the university.
Three technicians send by the supplier – Jerry Lancin, Joseph Maggay and Wilfredo dela Cruz – instructed the trainees in how to operate the machine during the three-day FabLab 101 training at the site.
According to Maggay, the 3D printer uses rolls of polymer plastic filaments, with each roll costing about P700 each for local brands.
Next year, it is claimed, DTI will provide a P1.8-million filament maker, which uses recycled plastics, the type of which will depend on the plastic’s melting point.
This will not only save costs in procuring raw materials for the 3D printers but also reduce plastic waste.
The SSF project, which seeks to benefit 100 MSMEs, 200 students and faculty members, and 20 researchers, is the second facility to be turned over by DTI to CatSU after the Food Processing Facility in 2017 during the term of then Pres. Minerva I. Morales.

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