Apr 23, 2017 | By Benedict

A team of Spanish students aged between 14 and 16 is looking to raise €5,000 to take its 3D printed beekeeping solution to the FIRST LEGO League Asia Pacific Open in Sydney, Australia. The Valencia-based team, named “Invictus Lego,” has created a 3D printed anti-parasite tool for beehives.

Invictus Lego is on something of a hot streak. Made up of eight students from the Pureza de María Cid School in Valencia, the talented group has won eight local prizes for its 3D printing and robotics skills in recent months, including the Spanish grand final of the FIRST LEGO League, an international competition that encourages elementary and middle school students to tackle real-world scientific challenges…using LEGO. Having conquered its compatriots in the Spanish FIRST LEGO League, Invictus is now looking to take on an even bigger challenge.

At least, they will if they can raise enough money.

The group of Valencia youngsters is currently looking to raise €40,000 through a GoFundMe campaign. If they can successfully do so, they will be able to fund a trip to Sydney, where the FIRST LEGO Asia Pacific Open is set to take place between July 6-9. There, the team hopes to showcase its innovative 3D printed beekeeping solution that uses a special 3D printed adapter and other LEGO-constructed gadgets to improve beehives.

“We discovered a notable decline in the bee population during recent years which could endanger the planet,” Invictus Lego says. “This decline is caused by constant wasp attacks on hives, a parasite called the varroa destructor, and high temperatures inside hives caused by global warming.” With 3D printing, programming, and block-building skills at the ready, the group set about developing a set of inventions that could tackle all three of these problems.

Using a PLA 3D printing filament from Filaflex, Invictus Lego came up with an ingenious solution to deal with the problem of the varroa parasite. The mite, which attacks honey bees, attaches to a bee’s body, weakening it by sucking out a blood-like fluid called haemolymph. The parasite has a huge economic impact on the beekeeping industry, and can cause the collapse of entire colonies.

The team’s solution to the varroa problem involves using tiny brushes that line the sides of a small 3D printed entry way to the beehive. In principle, this could serve to remove any mites clinging to a bee as it reenters the colony—by gently “brushing” the sides of the bee as it squeezes through the gap. Usefully, this gap is also too tight for most wasps to fit through, thus combating another of the aforementioned problems.

The group of students has also devised a clever refrigeration system for beehives aimed at keeping the colony cool and healthy, in addition to a vaseline trap that stops ants from entering the hive.

The team hopes that these inventions will be recognized at the Asia Pacific Open, should they raise enough money to get there. At present, they have raised €2,240, so there’s still a way to go.

For the sake of bees everywhere, let’s hope they make it.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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