MediaCityUK’s Eagle Lab is celebrating its first six months of operation, during which over 400 students and over 50 local businesses have passed through its doors.

Supported by Barclays, the hi-tech fabrication studio and maker workshop is equipped with advanced 3D printers, laser cutters and other professional design equipment together with traditional hand-tools.

It is based at The Landing, in Salford Quays, and recently installed two special 3D printers.

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These can produce large scale objects and highly detailed models in both curable plastics and composite powder format.

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Manager James Medd in the maker lab workshop

One has also been calibrated to ‘print’ copies of body parts from hospital CT scans, allowing surgeons to study fractures in 3D before picking up a scalpel.

The Eagle Lab, which opened before Christmas on the fourth floor of The Landing, was developed to help local businesses and students take ideas for new physical products, gadgets and devices and turn them into working prototypes.

Manager James Medd said: “There’s no other place in Greater Manchester like the Eagle Lab where you can design and build a product prototype, print off a short-run of bespoke components, or mould a one-off widget for a specific purpose.

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“We have some of the best 3D printing kit in the North West, together with industry-standard design software and laser cutters.
“This, combined with a workshop full of traditional hand-tools and crafting equipment, means we have everything you need to turn an idea or concept into a working model.

“It’s therefore great that companies like Badoom and Athletec have been able to utilise our resources to drive their businesses forward, while at the same time we’re working with students, community groups and clinicians to develop potentially life-changing products.”

Athletec is behind the boxing fitness and training system Corner, which has been endorsed by some of the world’s best coaches and fighters.

The team, who are based at The Landing, used the Eagle lab to refine both the look and feel of the movement sensors incorporated into boxing gloves.

Education technology firm BaDoom used 3D-printing equipment to create prototypes which can be refined and tested.

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Darren O’Brien, who runs Barclays’ business and SME support services, said: “The Landing Eagle Lab is a community and business resource available for everybody in Greater Manchester.

“Whether you’re an inventor, an innovator or a mentor, the space has been designed to help you nurture and grow your idea, with additional support available from Barclays and its extensive network of partners.

“I’m therefore delighted so many entrepreneurs, start-ups and scale-ups have accessed our facilities in our first six months of operation.”