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Internship in Protolab

Internship in Protolab
He found himself in Ostrava by coincidence, but he came twice. The first time he was brought here in 2022 by the Erasmus programme, the second time he went to the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of VSB-TUO on purpose. Twenty-one-year-old Gabriel Prat from France was one of the trainees in Protolab. What is his experience?

Gabriel Prat is a student in his 4th year of Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Design at Belford Montbéliard Technical University. But he spent his winter semester not in that small town on the border between France, Switzerland and Germany, but in Ostrava. Here he completed a six-month internship at the Protolab 3D Printing Centre, where he developed his skills as a mechanical engineer and created, among other things, a collection of stainless steel jewellery inspired by Vladislav Gajda's iconic Prometheus relief above the main entrance to Building A.

What brought you to Ostrava, specifically to Protolab?

Actually, a complete coincidence. I wanted to go abroad to study, but there was a covid - so my original plan to study in China didn't work out. So I was thinking about a European country and from what was offered and what my classmates said, Ostrava was the best choice. So I decided more or less spontaneously.

You didn't regret it?

Not at all, on the contrary. I liked it very much. That's why I came again. During Erasmus, I met a student who was already doing an internship in Protolab and recommended it to me. So I didn't hesitate.

Did the internship match what you are studying in France?

In some ways, yes. 3D printing does precede CAD design. But here they are more focused on research, materials and so on. It's understandable because additive technologies is a young field and there is still a lot of room for research.

What were your expectations from your internship at the 3D Printing Centre?

I knew the people in Ostrava were very friendly, but I expected a lot more pressure from the internship. This was not confirmed, everyone was great and accepted me very quickly. As far as the job was concerned, I was interested in topological optimization, which according to the Protolab website, is what they do. I ended up doing something different - I should have applied for it at the beginning and become more interested in other people's projects. I wasn't very incisive.

So what did you focus on?

My supervisor Jakub Měsíček gave me a task at the beginning - to design a jewellery collection. That was actually what I was doing throughout the whole internship. Then I also worked on my project, which had a bit more mechanics. I enjoy working with mechanisms that I can develop and innovate on the computer. Jewellery is a much more straightforward assignment.

But I have to say, you did a good job.

Thank you. It's inspired by the artwork above the entrance to the main building. I printed prototypes from stainless steel. The collection includes a lapel pin, but it's too heavy and it doesn't hold. So the material will have to be changed to, say, a lighter titanium.

So you became a jewellery designer in Ostrava. Did you discover a piece of an artist in yourself?

True, I can put it on my CV. (laughs) I'm probably not a pure engineer. Actually, I really enjoyed creating the jewellery collection, playing with relief shapes, creating something new and at the same time preserving the elements that are significant for VSB-TUO.

What did your internship at Protolab give you?

Mainly, I learned a lot about additive technologies and the wide possibilities they offer. I learned how to operate 3D printers and work with different materials.

What's ahead of you when you return to your home university in France?

I had to choose a specialisation in my field some time ago and I chose automotive design. I like cars, so maybe in the future I will delve more into the automotive field. We'll see.

Created: 11. 3. 2024
Category:  News
Entered by:  Mgr. Lada Dittrichová
Department: 346 - Department of Machining, Assembly and Engineering Metrology