Nano Trophy with Big Impact


In 2017 Flinders Nano teamed up with the first-year Design & Technology Innovation teaching team, giving first year Design Communication (DSGN1102) students the task of pitching a new trophy to be used at the NanoScale Science and Technology Annual Conference. While our existing trophy looked great, its design meant it was quite fragile.

The winning design was pitched by Matthew Maher, with an impressive form and a design that communicated various innovative applications of common nanotechnology imagery. These include a representation of a Scanning Tunnelling Microscope above 19 atoms, and a fullerene molecule as the cap piece of the trophy. Though the initial proof-of-concept prototype was a humble creation of cardboard, when paired with the digital design it captured Matthew’s product vision and convinced the judges.

After being selected as the winning design, Matthew had the unenviable task of transforming this challenging concept into a physical reality, supported by the topic coordinator Associate Professor Sandy Walker. A laser cut mould was made from MDF in order to be able to heat, bend and clamp the acrylic sheet into the precise geometry required, with the piece being locked in place as it was left to cool.

Once the acrylic was shaped, a 3D printed mould was used to cast the concrete base, with Matthew saying “My choice of concrete reflects that great research is based on a solid foundation”.

The handle and cap piece was machined from an aluminium rod by the College of Science and Engineering’s Technical Services department according to Matthew’s specifications, with a precise angle required to ensure it would fit the curved acrylic surface. Finally, the fullerene molecule “cap” was 3D printed from metal, owing to the complex shape.

The end result is a highly customised, professional trophy which will serve for years to come as a perpetual trophy, with a new recipient name being added each year at the Annual Conference.

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