Student and PrintCity ambassador wins spacecraft design competition

Elen Parry was part of triumphant UK pair at Autodesk expo

BSc 3D Design student Elen Parry, right, with left, Peter Gough, Senior Lecturer in Digital Innovation, and, centre, Ed Keefe, 3D Print Manager

3D Design student Elen Parry, right, with left, Peter Gough, Senior Lecturer in Digital Innovation, and, centre, Ed Keefe, 3D Print Manager

A student who works at the University's advanced digital manufacturing hub, PrintCity, has won a design competition in Denmark.

Elen Parry, who is in her third year of a BA Three Dimensional Design course in the Manchester School of Art, was half of a pairing that triumphed in a Design Slam challenge that tests design, skill, and presentation.

She was representing the UK in the Danish capital Copenhagen at Autodesk One Team Extension EMEA, an expo and gathering for staff and partners associated with Computer Aided Design (CAD) software company Autodesk in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Elen, who is a student ambassador for Autodesk and the first recipient of its Women In Leadership scholarship, works part-time as a 3D Print Assistant at PrintCity, an education and innovation centre by the Faculty of Science and Engineering that offers students, staff and businesses advanced additive and subtractive manufacturing techniques.

Elen said after her win: "As an Art and Design student, I never imagined that I’d be working in the realm of digital manufacturing, creating life-changing outputs like 3D-printed prosthetic limbs.

"My degree places an emphasis on traditional Product Design such as ceramics, furniture and sculpture.

"The facilities at PrintCity have opened my eyes to a whole range of new possibilities within 3D printing, and helped to shape my career ambitions after I graduate.

"As a result of my work with the PrintCity team, I’ve decided to focus my career on ‘inclusive design’ – creating assistive aids, prosthetics, medical devices and other every day products that are innovative and focus on the diversity of people and the impact of this on design decisions.

"The facilities at PrintCity are amazing. New equipment arrives almost on a weekly basis, which is really exciting and allows us to push the boundaries of 3D design and additive manufacturing.

"No project is too big; the team here are willing to try anything. We work collaboratively to come up with creative solutions to even the most complex of projects."

The Design Slam was a 3D modelling and CAD contest that besides the UK team featured a team from Germany and one from Turkey.

They were given a brief to design a spacecraft from scratch in just 20 minutes using Autodesk’s Fusion 360 software and the winners were decided by whoever received the loudest cheer from the audience measured by a decibel recorder.

Back in the UK, Elen is involved with a project to create a succession of prosthetic limbs for toddler Eda who was born without part of her arm and is too young to receive a prosthetic from the NHS.

The team became involved after her father approached PrintCity for advice and they ended up designing and 3D printing a series of baby-friendly prosthetics that continue to be produced every two to six weeks to suit her needs as she grows and becomes increasingly accustomed to the appendiges.

Manchester Metropolitan University – as part of a working group with clinicians from the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust - has been awarded funding by the Starworks Innovation Project and Devices for Dignity to develop next-generation 3D printable prosthetics for children under the age of 5.

Professor Craig Banks, academic lead for PrintCity, said: "It is an amazing journey that Elen has been on, from arriving at PrintCity not knowing what CAD was through to embracing the technology within her course through to becoming an expert and teaching the future CAD experts at Manchester Metropolitan, part-time through Jobs4students.

"It is amazing how far Elen has come in such a short space of time and in recognition of her ability, she was appointed as an Autodesk Student Ambassador for the UK.

"Elen was selected by Autodesk to go to Copenhagen this week to represent the UK and Manchester Metropolitan in a Europe-wide Design Slam, which she followed the PrintCity ethos of kicking the doors in and went on to win.

"It is clear that Elen has the three pillars to success: discipline, desire and ability.

"We are extremely proud of Elen and can’t wait to see what the future holds for this talented individual."

The Faculty of Science and Engineering recently launched a MSC in Industrial Digitalisation that provides a very much hands-on entry route to the fascinating opportunities offered within Industry 4.0.

Four further Women In Leadership scholarships are to be awarded by Autodesk to four applications to the Masters course. 

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