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MindKits Expands Reach of Portable 3D Printing Workshops

3Ders caught wind of the winners of Mercedes-Benz’s second annual ‘Hack My Van’ Competition in Australia.  Mindkits, based in New Zealand, has been awarded a brand-new van by the German automobile manufacturer.

Mindkits is run by Tim Carr and Fay Cobbett and has been running educational 3D printing workshops in New Zealand since 2008.  Their goal has been to teach “young people the basics of 3D printing technology in schools that have access to a 3D printer.  Cobbett has always recognized the limitations of this approach, however, as many schools in less socio-economically successful areas of the county lack the funds or resources to introduce 3D printing technology.”

By winning this ‘Hack My Van’ Competition, Mindkits can now expand its operations by using “the van to set up a mobile educational 3D printing workshop, bringing 3D printers to more under-privileged children.”  As Carr explains, “there are plenty of keen kids that are out there in lower socioeconomic areas without the resources and funds to participate, so this is a way we can take what we’ve been doing and totally democratize the technology and make it available for everyone.”

In order to win the competition (and the van), the Mindkits team had “to explain how the new van would add to the growth of its business…Carr and Cobbett overcame these obstacles and won the contest, impressing a panel of judges that included LaunchVic chief executive Kate Cornick, Blackbird Ventures partner Nick Crocker, award-winning chef Shane Delia, stylist Megan Morton, and Mercedes-Benz Vans Australia and New Zealand Managing Director Diane Tarr.”

Following their triumph, “the Mindkits team is now preparing to refurbish the van, ready to test out their concept for real.  They intend to start out back home in New Zealand before moving over to Australia, and perhaps even further afield.  Hopefully as many as 120 children a day will be able to participate in their new mobile 3D printing classes.”

Tarr concludes: “Mindkits…are already providing such a valuable service to school children in New Zealand by delivering hands-on STEM learning experiences.  We cannot wait to see them achieve their dreams of taking their workshops on the road to more kids and more schools.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of 3Ders

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