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3D Printing Workshop at S. Thomas’ College



By Capt. G.A. Fernando
Hony Secretary,
S. Thomas. College, Mount Lavinia, Old Boys’ Centenary Group.

3D printing is fast becoming a household name in modern usage. This is mainly due to the printers themselves becoming cheaper to purchase, and consumers realising the technology’s amazing capability to design and build components for art, science, biomedical and engineering applications, and much more.

This technology is transforming many industries by being able to customize for specific applications in industries such as construction, food, agriculture, fashion, hobbies, etc. Components can be designed and built at the site using recyclable material, thus reducing the requirement for shipping and logistics, while also benefiting from shorter lead times and reduced environmental impact.

3D printing consists of two primary activities, namely the design phase, and the printing phase. At the core of the first is 3D designing using CAD (Computer-Aided Design) software and modeling. In the printing process, material in the 3D printer is deposited or solidified layer by layer according to the digital model created. This is achieved by controlling the feed rate of the material through a heated nozzle or precision head, ensuring it melts or solidifies at a controlled temperature.

The precise movement of the head along the X, Y and Z axes is managed by a computerised system with three motors, each allowing for accurate layering and creation of a three-dimensional shape. Diverse materials, including those that are wood-based, conductive, flexible and rigid, cater to a range of applications. In specialized fields such as the food industry, printers craft intricate icing designs on chocolates and cakes. In the automotive and aviation sectors, 3D printers are utilized to manufacture metal parts for applications demanding high standards of precision and reliability.

Vice President Eddie Appathurai of the S. Thomas’ College Old Boys’ Centenary  Group awarding a Certificate to one of the participants

S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia, with the guidance of the Warden and Sub-Warden, recently conducted a 3D printing workshop. The first venture of its kind in any school in Sri Lanka, this initiative aimed at introducing modern technology to students was proposed by Dr Chandika Wickramatillake, an Old Boy of the school, and financially supported by STC’s Centenary Group of Old Boys.

Two additional partners, a supplier, and an academic institution, combined resources to support and execute the program. They were Sri Lanka’s leading 3D printing company, ‘Thrimana’; and the Technology Department of the University of Colombo.

 The two-day workshop was conducted at the Mt. Lavinia campus on 15th and 16th September 2023, with 22 college students from grades 7 to 11 registered for the program. Students interested in this technology had little or no understanding of and proficiency in the subject to begin with, nor knowledge of the physical printing techniques involved in converting the ‘raw’ material to a component, from a design.

Many printers and high-speed computers were set up by Thrimana. Students were divided into groups of four or five, with two 3D printing expert technicians allocated to each team to support knowledge-sharing, provide detailed explanations, and offer hands-on practical support during sessions.

The first day’s morning session consisted of learning basic 3D printing technology from the University of Colombo lecturer. In the afternoon, students began using the 3D design software to make small components such as chess pieces and pen holders.

On the second day, students progressed to designing components for a self-guiding vehicle, with electronic components and sensors provided by Thrimana. Next, attendees started building and testing the vehicle with their well-designed wheels, chassis parts, etc, completing the build in time to participate in a competition.

Five teams then challenged each other to have their vehicles travel accurately on a self-guided path, as well as a straight, high-speed track. The team named ‘Cyber Designers’ won the overall competition. All students were rewarded for their participation with a 3D model and an academic certificate from the University of Colombo.

The overall expectation was to equip these budding innovators with foundational knowledge and hands-on experience in this cutting-edge technology. It is hoped that the workshop, and others like it, will fulfill their goal of inspiring a new generation of designers, engineers and visionaries to play a pivotal role in shaping future of technology in Sri Lanka.

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Opposition threatens to move no-faith motion against Speaker over OSB



Speaker Abeywardena

By Saman Indrajith

Opposition and SJB leader Sajith Premnadasa told Parliament yesterday that the Online Safety Bill had been passed in violation of the law and unless remedial action was taken, a no-faith motion would be brought against Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena.

Premadasa said that Article 123(4) of the Constitution says, “Where any Bill, or the provision of any Bill, has been determined, or is deemed to have been determined, to be inconsistent with the Constitution, such Bill or such provision shall not be passed except in the manner stated in the determination of the Supreme Court.”

Premadasa said: “It is illegal to pass a Bill without adhering to this constitutional provision. There were nine instances where the government overlooked the Supreme Court determination on the Bill. The Speaker allowed that to happen despite our protests. The Justice Minister, too, has admitted that there are flaws in the Act. How could that happen? Rectify them immediately, or we will bring a no-confidence motion against the Speaker.”

Justice Minister Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said that even if the Supreme Court determined that a section or clause of a draft Bill was inconsistent with the Constitution, a Bill could be passed by Parliament. It could be done with either a two-thirds majority or two-thirds majority plus people’s approval from a referendum. A case cannot be filed against the way the Speaker or an MP behaved in this House as they have immunity. Former Speaker Anura Bandaranaike, too, has given a ruling on this issue and we still consider it as a precedent to be upheld. With regard to the Online Safety Bill, the Attorney General has instructed Public Security Minister Tiran Alles to incorporate some amendments as per the Supreme Court determination and to bring other recommended amendments in the form of a separate Amendment Bill. I was not a party to that discussion. This Amendment Bill was presented to the Cabinet and approval was granted and now is at the Legal Draftsman’s Department. Thereafter, it would be referred to the Cabinet again and with that approval we can have it here in this House for consideration,” the Minister said.

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Teheran expects enhancement of bilateral ties in all fields



Following Iranian FM’s visit

The Foreign Ministry said yesterday that Iranian Foreign Minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, during high level meetings in Colombo this week, expressed hope that with this trip, the bilateral ties in all fields, including political, economic, commercial, and tourism, would be expanded.

Amirabdollahian was here at the official invitation of the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, PC. During his meeting with Sabry, Amirabdollahian referred to the good and friendly relations between the two countries and the continuous consultations between them on bilateral, regional, and international issues.

The Iranian also considered scientific and technological issues as areas to which the two countries pay attention for cooperation.

Amirabdollahian appreciated the invitation of the President of Sri Lanka to the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi, to visit this country and stated: “We hope that this trip will be on the agenda at the right time.”

He also appreciated Sri Lanka’s positions in supporting the people of Palestine and Gaza in international forums, including the United Nations.

In this meeting, Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ali Sabry also warmly welcomed his Iranian counterpart and described his trip to Tehran last summer as memorable, stating: “During my trip to Iran, I witnessed the high morale of the Iranian people in the social arena. I observed production and life.”

The Sri Lankan Foreign Minister emphasized: “The two countries have good relations with common areas and shared values.”

Referring to Sri Lanka’s transition from previous economic conditions and economic growth and prosperity in this country, Ali Sabry expressed hope that the relations between the two countries would expand even more in the new era.

Referring to the industrial and economic capabilities of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka emphasized the readiness of his country to host Iranians to implement economic projects in Sri Lanka.

The issue of developing cooperation between the two countries in the field of tourism was one of the other topics discussed by the foreign ministers of the two countries, and the parties expressed hope that Iranian and Sri Lankan tourists would mutually choose the two countries more and more as tourist destinations.

In this regard, the parties emphasized the necessity of establishing direct flights between Iran and Sri Lanka, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said.

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Only 50,000 out of 7 mn buildings have rooftop solar systems



Great potential to increase solar power generation

by Rathindr5a Kuruwita

Rooftop solar power generation in Sri Lanka has exceeded 750 megawatts by the middle of February 2024, Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) media spokesman Noel Priyantha said on Wednesday.

Priyantha added that Sri Lanka has great potential in solar, wind and other forms of renewable energy.

Sri Lanka has around seven million buildings, but only 50,000 of them have installed rooftop solar systems, and there is a great potential to increase rooftop solar power generation exponentially, he said.

The CEB now buys a unit of electricity from rooftop solar power producers for 37 rupees, and these producers can recover their initial costs in five years, Priyantha said.

The CEB is also talking to state-owned banks to introduce a concessional bank loan for those interested in installing rooftop solar power units, he said.

The Sri Lankan government has set a goal of achieving 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030 and becoming carbon-neutral by 2050.

The total installed capacity of the national power grid is over 5,000 megawatts, and the daily energy consumption in February 2024 is about 46 gigawatts per day, Priyantha said .

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