Education

$10 million available to support 3D printing start-ups

The Entrepreneurial Universities programme will receive a NZD$10 million boost from the Government and University of Auckland (UoA).

The funds will be used to support 3D printing start-ups. Education minister for New Zealand, Chris Hipkins announced the project and also the appointment of Professor Olaf Diegel.

Prof Olaf Diegel demonstrating a 3D printed guitar.
Prof Olaf Diegel demonstrating a 3D printed guitar.

“We are fortunate to have secured Professor Diegel, a world leader in creating new products that provide innovative solutions to engineering problems,” said the Education minister.

“Professor Diegel’s work aims to establish New Zealand as a global leader in Additive Manufacturing (AM), a technique used to build 3D printing technology. AM has already been used by Kiwi start-up Rocket Lab to build its ground-breaking rocket motor that cleverly used parts made by 3D printers.”

Prof. Diegel will join the UOA Faculty of Engineering early in 2019. As the founder of additive manufacturing labs during previous academic positions with Auckland University of Technology, Massey University and Lund University, Prof. Diegel has been involved in the development of more than 100 products.

These products include an insulin cooling system that was commercialised by Medactive. Prof. Diegel has also worked on projects including a metal 3D printed guitar, a project he wrote about for 3D Printing Industry in this article.

The Skeletor microphone with 3D printed guitars in the background. Image via Olaf Diegel.
The Skeletor microphone with 3D printed guitars in the background. Image via Olaf Diegel.

The Entrepreneurial Universities programme aims to position New Zealand as a world leader in additive manufacturing according to local politician Chris Hipkins. “This project will fast-track New Zealand’s ability to develop more commercial products using AM. Professor Diegel has dedicated much of his career to developing entrepreneurship. He has been involved in seven university start-ups and was a board member of Lund University’s VentureLab helping students turn their ideas into start-ups.”

Other additive manufacturing projects in New Zealand include the award winning heat exchangers developed at the University of Canterbury by Dr Tim Huber and Professor Conan Fee, 3D printed contact lenses designed to protect the wearer against seizures and the aforementioned Rocket Lab Electron.

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Featured image shows The University of Auckland.

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