Mon 16 Dec 2019

Finishing touches on fabrication projects

Students studying the New Zealand Certificate in Mechanical Engineering at WITT have put the final touches on practical projects.

Proudly displaying their pizza ovens and stools, this is a group of students who look like they’ve had fun in the workshop as they’ve brought their projects to life. The students are tasked with a number of hands on projects throughout the year long course, which provides them the skills to move into an apprenticeship or another job within the engineering sector.

Tutor Mark Hudson said the students should be very proud of the items they’ve produced throughout the year.

“They’re functional things they can take home, use themselves or gift to friends of family. There will be a lot of pizza going on this summer,” he said.

“The projects really teach them all aspects of Mechanical Engineering, from understanding how the materials work, to reading drawings and manufacturing the jobs to industry standards. When they complete, they can either go on to work in the engineering industry or further their study with the New Zealand Diploma in Engineering.

“The design of the furniture projects is particularly interesting because the students are responsible for the whole thing from the design, to producing the working drawings, right through to the fabrication and welding process. The designs and build quality on these items are really impressive.”

A number of creations have been created using reclaimed materials such as rebar (the reinforcing steel that’s used in concrete work) and structural I beam.  

“Where possible we try and upcycle existing components and incorporate them into the design,” Mark said.

One student, Briar, created a stool from parts she salvaged from different sources including WITT’s automotive department.

“The base of the stool is a brake disc which came from the automotive workshop next door and the column is a crank shaft which came from a guy’s farm in the back of Eltham,” she said. “When we got it, I thought to myself – ‘that’ll come in handy for something’.”

“I think naturally it’s going to become my dad’s, because that’s the kind of thing he likes.”

Briar’s taking the skills she’s learned in Mechanical Engineering this year and applied to become an engineering officer in the army.

“If I get in, I’ll go to Waiouru for training, and then see where I’m stationed. I think I would stay in the army for a while, depending on how I like the lifestyle.”

Briar’s classmate Azaria completed a pizza oven which she says she plans to use over summer with friends and family. She said she also got a lot of the Level 3 programme this year.

“I enjoyed the wide variety of skills I gained this year. It doesn’t matter if you have experience of not going into the course, which makes it very welcoming.”

Undertaking the stool project with slick industrial design, student Connor created a seat that doubles as a side table.

“I’ve powder coated the metal frame and varnished the wood, and now it’s being used as my bedside table,” he said.

Connor said he really enjoyed the course this year. He has gone on to secure a toolmaking apprenticeship at Howard Wright and is now working there full-time.

“I enjoyed expanding my knowledge of engineering and being able to use that in a workplace.”

If the practical world of welding and fabrication sounds like something you're interested in, find out more about our the Level 3 Mechanical Engineering programme here.