Interview: Heating Up The 3D Printers With Golden West

Introducing one of the hottest initiatives happening in Cambodia: the AOTM (Advanced Ordnance Teaching Materials) program. In a nutshell, the program leverages the recent advances in the accessibility of 3D printing to raise the quality of humanitarian explosive ordnance disposal education worldwide. Acting under the international label of Golden West Humanitarian Foundation, we are talking about inert ordnance training aids mirroring scaled up versions of minefield elements. We recently had the chance to catch up with key maker Gretchen Chia to find out, among other things, just exactly how hands-on we can get with the prototypes.

Photo Credits: Geeks In Cambodia

Photo Credits: Geeks In Cambodia

(This interview has been edited for flow and clarity.)

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Hello Gretchen! Shall we start with a short introduction of yourself and the program?

Hello! I am currently studying engineering and product development in SUTD (Singapore University of Technology and Design), and this is an internship venture for me. I have been in Cambodia for the last few months working with 3D printers to create training products related to the explosive ordinance sector. The completed prototypes will be delivered to explosive ordinance departments to train them on how the different fuses work.

Photo Credits: Geeks In Cambodia

Photo Credits: Geeks In Cambodia

Combining 3D printing with explosive products is not an everyday job. Is it exciting for you?

I personally find it fun to tinker around with devices like these as I always had an interest in the defense industry. It is a meaningful opportunity for me to see the project from the start to end, and it has really helped to hone my skills.

Photo Credits: Geeks In Cambodia

Photo Credits: Geeks In Cambodia

Back in Singapore, every classroom had a 3D printer, although I never had much time with them since everyone was busy printing their own projects. In Cambodia, I have the opportunity, a number of 3D printers, and a cause to work with. Golden West to me is probably a place where they think of really exciting and innovative ways to safeguard and improve the lives of others.

Could you take us through an average day in your job?

During this course, I’ve been assigned the printing process for one of the ten variable time fuses; and right now I am building a PIR (Passive Infrared) sensor that detects motion and sends out an audio signal.

Photo Credits: Geeks In Cambodia

Photo Credits: Geeks In Cambodia

Most of the actual printing can be done overnight by these 3D printers, so I have to do up the design and specifications beforehand to gauge myself. As for colors, they come out in parts, but a two-colored piece was recently produced.

Are there any future plans for the organization to take a different approach to 3D printing? 

Prototypes, shape changers, fuses, and all our usual training aids are in our immediate schedule, so there is no concrete plan to dabble in the outside genres (like commercial 3D printing). Additionally, I think just the image of me 3D printing minefield elements in Cambodia is exciting enough to keep me going through the course!

Thanks!

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You can find out more about this project or the organization over at their main website here! We look forward to seeing more additions to the 3D printing makers in Cambodia, so if you are thinking of joining the venture, drop us a note to say hello