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Workpiece in the student workshop (Photo: Hannah Theile / University of Magdeburg)
12.12.2023 from 
Study + Teaching
Where ideas come true

Turning your own ideas and visions into reality - who doesn't dream this dream? Realising the project work developed during the semester and making it tangible - that would be perfect! However, this is where things can get tricky, as space, materials and tools are needed - resources that are often difficult for students to obtain on their own. The StudierendenWerkstatt at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, which opened its doors at the start of the 2023/24 winter semester, now provides all students with such an environment at every stage of their studies.

One of the first projects to be realised in the newly opened garage is that of Master's student Henri Paetz. As part of his work as a student assistant, he supported the Design of Mechatronic Systems module of the Biomechanical Engineering study programme. The students had to build and programme exoskeleton arms - an external support structure that moves with the body - from kits. Normal seminar rooms were hardly an option for practical group work with more than 10 participants. In the StudierendenWerkstatt, on the other hand, there is not only enough space, but also all the necessary tools. The fact that everything could be found in one place was particularly helpful. "This meant that we didn't have to search for a long time and ask in other garages, but got everything promptly," reports the Master's student.

Henri Paetz zeigt Interessierten in der StudierendenWerkstatt die Exoskelettarme (c) Hannah Theile Uni MagdeburgHenri Paetz shows interested parties the exoskeleton arms in the StudierendenWerkstatt (Photo: Hannah Theile / University of Magdeburg)

The garage is particularly well equipped when it comes to metalworking. In addition to extensive tool trolleys, a wide range of drills, grinders, saws, milling machines and polishing machines are available for use by the students. There are also several 3D printers with a large build space. These make it possible to produce larger components directly in one piece instead of having to carry out many individual prints. For Henri Paetz, the laser cutter for wood and metal is also a key highlight: "It allows ideas to be realised that would otherwise be difficult to achieve, such as creating elaborate wood engravings or cutting complex shapes."

Henri is delighted that the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering has invested a lot of money, with a great deal of commitment and care, to set up the StudierendenWerkstatt in building 11 and now make it available to all students to work on projects from the practical modules or realise their own ideas.

Book appointments online

However, as in any other garage, certain instructions and briefings must be carried out before starting work. Appointments can be easily booked in eLearning. Once these have been completed for the desired machines, work can be carried out in the garage at any time. It is important that at least one of the employees of the StudierendenWerkstatt must be on site to ensure safety when handling the machines. With their expertise and experience, the employees help to ensure a smoothly functioning working environment. The student staff have also been a great help here, says Henri Paetz; everyone can find support here for any questions and tasks.

In der StudierendenWerkstatt stehen den Nutzern zahlreiche Maschinen zur Verfügung (c) Hannah Theile Uni MagdeburgBefore the machines can be used in the StudierendenWerkstatt, students are trained in how to use the equipment. (Photo: Hannah Theile / University of Magdeburg)

In general, the concept of a StudierendenWerkstatt has met with great approval: "The garage has been a great asset to the university, especially since everything got off to a good start and you can work flexibly on projects there," explains Henri Paetz.

The course for which he and his fellow students built the exoskeleton will be offered again next summer semester - that's the plan. The Master's students will then share the garage with the 4th semester FMB Bachelor's students, as they will spend a lot of time in the student garage as part of the interdisciplinary PaTe project: the space that gives free rein to ideas.

We would like to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU

The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering would like to thank everyone involved in the project for their great commitment in setting up and running our StudierendenWerkstatt.