Prototyping with 3D Printing – students apply “Learning Lab” know-how for their bachelor thesis

Written by Prof. Dr. Joachim Günther (HM)

Starting March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused extensive restrictions. Even though further Learning Lab POW workshops (‘Print Your Own World’) weren’t held, students kept utilizing their know-how and realizing new products. Figures 1-3 show functional models and prototypes that were the outcome from various bachelor theses.

One important decision upfront is which prototype components should be printed and which ones should be bought. Components such as shafts or steel pins are cheaper and quickly acquired in DIY supply stores.

Figure 1: Cardan joint that is able to transfer rotation and torque from a driveshaft to an output shaft, even if both shafts are positioned angularly.

Below, two mechanical functional models integrating 3D printed components are displayed.

Figure 2: Functional model with two cardan joints that are arranged consecutively. Thus, the torque in between the shafts that have offset can be transferred. One common application is found in machine engineering.
Figure 3: Gear range from a drive shaft and a pulley. These basic gears were used in mediaeval times as powertrain for water-powered mills.

These bachelor theses were super-visioned by Prof. Dr. Joachim Günther (Hochschule München, Faculty 09, Engineering Economics). For further information please contact me.

Evolution of the Learning Lab: “HAT virtual” – from presence to virtual workshop

The name: Learning Lab.
The idea: haptic technology experience in small groups.
The scenario: 1 room, 1 instructor, 25 students.

This is how the situation looked just a few months ago.

The Covid 19 pandemic confronted the Learning Lab, and with it Professors Dr. Holger Günzel and Dr. Lars Brehm from Munich University of Applied Sciences, with the task of adapting the Learning Lab workshops for online use.

In mid-2020, the first workshop – DBF (Digital Business Foundation) – successfully moved into virtuality, enabling students from all corners of the globe to participate. This success story continued in October: The HAT (Home Automation with Internet of Things) workshop makes its successful online debut with 50 students.

To do this, the following workshop components were adapted:

ComponentOn-Site-FormatVirtual Format
Hardware PlatformRaspberry PiAWS Linux Server :
managed via Terraform
Sensors & OutputSense-HATTrinket: browserbased
Sense-HAT Simulation
Node-REDNode-RED with
Node-RED with
Sense-HAT Simulator
Working in small groupTablesZoom-Breakouts
Collaborative WritingPost-ItsNuclino-Workspace
Components On-Site vs. virtual Learning Lab Format
Nuclino Central Hub

By the way: The assignments of the virtual workshop format and the Terraform scripts are, of course, openly available in the community.

From the modeled process to a digitized workflow: the new virtual workshop “Process Management Fundamentals” (PMF)

Due to the special Covid19 situation, the latest Learning Lab was developed as a virtual workshop format in the current summer semester 2020: the workshop “Process Management Fundamentals” (PMF).
This allows processes to be made comprehensible, self-directed and experienced collaboratively even in distance learning. In the new workshop by professor Dr. Holger Günzel and Dr. Lars Brehm from Hochschule München University of Applied Sciences, processes are not only modeled. In addition, the execution is checked by simulation and the transfer to automated workflows for the execution of the processes: Forms can be filled out, emails sent or documents generated. By making the results directly visible, the gap that often exists between theory and practice is significantly reduced: The ability to easily understand existing process models is complemented by the ability to create your own models.

Workshop PMF in Action

Initially, the workshop was used in the summer semester 2020 with 20 students in the Bachelor of Business Administration. For this purpose, the proven tools such as Zoom and Breakout Sessions, Nuclino as a collaboration tool and Signavio as a cloud system for process modeling were used.

Kicked off: virtual version of the workshop “Digital Business Foundation”

Students that sit together at tables one next to another, vivid discussions and lecturers that look over their shoulders. What used to be the normal within universities is no longer possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic today. New educational as well as learning models are in demand in order to bridge distance and substitute presence classes.

The Learning Lab – whose core purpose is experiencing technology haptically within small groups- had to manage the challenge, too. The solution: The teams ‘met’ virtually via Zoom breakout sessions. Additionally, the webtool Nuclino was used for collaborative writing and exchanging information – something, that usually would be done with post-its, flipcharts and discussions. Instead of a Raspberry Pi as the local wordpress server, the student teams work on a Linux server hosted on the AWS Cloud (Amazon Web Services).

Linux server on AWS provided for the student groups.

The required Linux servers are not set up individually/manually. Instead, they are setup automatically via scripting in Terraform. This way the infrastructure is easily adjustable as well as scalable (e.g. for 10 teams and beyond). Being able to start and stop the service at the push of a button, it is also saving costs.

Terraform in order to automatically set up linux servers.

With this technological premise the Learning Lab workshop “Digital Business Foundation” (DBF) moved into the virtual space. This way the established didactical approach also succeeds within the new group work from distance setting.

By the way: This virtual approach of the affected assignments and Terraform scripts is of course publicly available within the community. So, please utilize it to your benefit as well.

Learning Lab contributes two articles at EDUCON 2020 (IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference)

The EDUCON 2020 (IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference) was setup to take place at the faculty of engineering sciences in the Polytechnic of Porto in Portugal from April 28th to 30th. Instead of in presence the conference was re-organized as an online event due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

Therefore, we presented our works on ‘Teaching 3D Printing Technology Hands-on‘ and ‘Problem-based learning for teaching new technologies‘ virtually:

Live snippet of the virtual presentations.

The first article covers the domain ‘Experience-driven teaching of 3D printing technology‘. At universities, new technologies such as additive manufacturing are mainly thought theoretically with use of graphics or educational video materials. A real application of digital technologies as well as creative use of these technologies developing new ideas, thus making new experiences, more often than not fall short. The article describes how the Hochschule München University of Applied Sciences integrates 3D printing through reasonable printers into lectures, therefore, facilitating these critical skills and competencies.

Gunther, Joachim; Brehm, Lars; Günzel, Holger; Humpe, Andreas (2020) „Teaching 3D Printing Technology Hands-on“, in: 2020 IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON). Presented at the 2020 IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON), IEEE, Porto, Portugal, pp. 953–957.

The second article covers the domain ‘teaching new technologies via problem-based learning‘. The article describes a didactical concept to familiarize students with new digital technologies such as 3D printing, robotics and virtual reality. The concept is based on a problem-orientated and constructivistic learning environment. In order to evaluate the influence of different construcitivistic dimensions on learning success, a structural equation model was estimated. The outcome makes clear that social and emotional dimensions have the highest impact closely followed by self determination. The constructive dimension shows a positive, though not significant releation with learning success. At the bottom of the line, the results support the application of a problem-based didactical concept for teaching new technologies.

Humpe, Andreas; Brehm, Lars (2020) „Problem-based learning for teaching new technologies“, in: 2020 IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON). Presented at the 2020 IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON), IEEE, Porto, Portugal, pp. 493–496.

Sharing agricultural machines: an industry showcase based on the ‘HAT’ Workshop

Students within the masters program ‘Applied Business Innovation’ have developed a new IoT solution for the agriculture industry based on ideas which they drafted in the Learning Lab stream ‘HAT – Home Automation with IoT‘.

To achieve the goals of the 2015 World Climate Conference, emissions must be saved across all sectors. Ms. Dörr, Ms. Egert, Ms. Laufs and Ms. Peters – all students of the master’s degree program “Applied Business Innovation” – have taken this as a basis to develop a digital and sustainable concept for agriculture. The use of digital technologies in agriculture should not only offer monetary benefits, but also enable a more sustainable way of doing business.

Elena Laufs and Anna-Sophie Peters, Wiebke Dörr and Annabel Egert at the Digi-Slam 5 of the Hochschule München

In the paper downloadable below, a concept for optimizing the current process of machine sharing in agriculture is set up. With the help of an IoT-based sharing platform, the process is digitalized and made more efficient. Furthermore, by focusing on the sharing of agricultural machines with alternative drives, emission reduction and the use of renewable energies are promoted on site. The student team presented their results at the Digi-Slam 5 of the Hochschule München – download the project paper (in German) here .

Further article at:

Learning Lab „Digital Technologies“ takes part in COVID-19 mask production

The Learning Lab “Digital Technologies” participated with students in the COVID-19 mask production. Based on the Learning Lab stream “Print your own world” (POW), which teaches students about 3D printing, students were challenged with a 3D printer to print face and mouth masks to address the Corona crisis. An educational video provided by Learning Lab provides a quick introduction to mass production:

3D print of a face mask

In total, several students from different faculties participated in the action.

Jochen Göltenboth, student at the faculty for tourism with his print of a face mask (Image: Jochen Göltenboth)
This is how the finished face mask looks after printing (Image: Fabio D’Antino)

New stream “HAT – Home Automation with Internet of Things” is now available

In the winter semester 2020/21, the new stream “HAT” (Home Automation with Internet of Things) was already initially executed in the Master of Business Administration “Applied Business Innovation”. The stream shows the technical fundamentals and possibilities of the Internet of Things (IoT). Using the example of Smart Home, sensors and actuators are linked together.

The participants, who mainly started without a technical background, do not learn IoT theoretically, but build a larger case based on the single-board computer Raspberry Pi and various sensors. They read out values, control output devices and graphically create and operate data-based processes using the Node-Red automation tool. Furthermore, the participants learn about and use the MQTT (“Message Queue Telemetry Transport”) protocol.