The third Bucknell Fabrication Workshop challenged students to improve disaster-relief efforts while building entrepreneurial prototyping skills.
Photo by Eric Kennedy
June 13, 2016, BY Matt Hughes
The week before Commencement is typically a quiet one on the Bucknell University campus, but if you listened closely enough May 12–19, you'd have heard electric saws buzzing, 3-D printers whirring and the rapid click-clacking of fingers tapping out code. The mechanical music arose from the 15 students attending the Bucknell Fabrication Workshop (B-Fab), who returned to campus to create miniature catapults, cars that race along strings and more — not for a grade, but just to see what they could make.
Now in its third year, B-Fab is a multi-day workshop experience for returning engineering students that emphasizes the use of product-development tools — including basic woodworking, computer-aided design technology, electronics and programming, laser cutting and engraving, and 3-D printing — to help students turn ideas into functional prototypes. Created and underwritten by a grant from the Kern Family Foundation, this year's workshop was also sponsored by a cohort of Bucknell alumni and others from engineering consulting firm Accenture. The Accenture team offered students a real-world problem to solve during the week: create a device to improve disaster-relief efforts, in this case for the American Red Cross. The Lewisburg branch of the Red Cross aided the workshop by opening its doors and coordinating a tour of a regional distribution center in Carlisle, Pa.
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