Wintec’s 3D printing experts support budding entrepreneurs

Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec) recently teamed up with St Peter’s School Cambridge students to help them transform their idea of a three dimensional sauce bottle into a working prototype. 

The group of five year 13 students had been taking part in the Lion Foundation’s Young Enterprise Scheme, which gives year 12 and 13 students the task of setting up and running their own business for a year. 
 
As part of the scheme, the group had been attending mentorship programmes at Wintec which helped them shape their ideas and gain advice from local business leaders.
 
Group member Rochelle Murphy, 17, said their brief was to create a business from scratch and to be innovative and creative when deciding on the product.
 
After tossing around a few ideas someone made the suggestion of creating a sauce bottle which could house more than one condiment, which led to them forming ‘Just Plain Saucy’.
 
“It’s tough carrying all of the sauces to the tables, so we thought why not put them all together,” Rochelle said.
 
From there the group set about designing the bottle with the help of a professional graphic designer.
 
When it came time to put their plans into practice they were put in contact with Wintec after learning about the institute’s 3D printer.
 
They met with Emily Allison, from Wintec’s research and development team, who then worked with the girls to bring the concept to life.
 
Emily said it took a few goes to get it right as the triangle is one of the most rigid structures in the engineering world. 
 
“This difficulty was overcome during the conceptual design stage where it was decided that the bottle could be made out of two types of materials – one that could be manipulated yet would return back to its original shape, and one that would be durable enough to protect the condiments on the inside.”
 
The prototype was completed in Wintec’s Project 6000 MP – a Stereolithographic 3D printer that delivers very fine feature detail. 
 
The outside casing was printed in a ABS/polypropylene-type resin that is perfect for form, fit and function testing, and the three inner condiment containers were produced in a polycarbonate-type resin that has a clear appearance and is stiff and durable. 
 
Rochelle said the group had no experience working with 3D printers and the whole project was a learning curve.
 
“We wanted to do something out of the norm…it really tested our creativity.”
 
Fellow group member Lydia Forsyth, 18, said the project had taught them the ins and outs of running a business. 
 
“We’ve gained a lot of knowledge on how to run a business…we had no experience in any of it.”