Sietse de Vries - Mechanical Engineering Intern
My job is to design and build an experiment relating to the extrusion process of the printers. This requires knowledge of the hardware of the printers, the materials that we work with and in-depth technical knowledge of the printing process as it is now. The purpose of this experiment is to gain deeper insights to all the factors that influence the extrusion process to further develop the printers at Ultimaker in the pursuit of the perfect print time and time again.
Working at Ultimaker
Typically, when I arrive at the office, I go to my printer to see the results of my previous print and prepare the printer for the next part. After that I go through my e-mail and calendar to check for updates and meetings that day. Now that I have settled, I revise my to-do list and set priorities. At this stage of my internship, my research consists primarily of gathering information and brainstorming. Calling and/or e-mailing with our suppliers about the possibilities and technical specifications of their products, sharing knowledge and experiences with colleagues and discussing possible strategies to tackle problems that we have encountered is something that I do daily. I try to gather as much information in any way possible before summarizing and presenting it to my team, which I do twice a week. In the meantime, I want to have a great understanding of how to work with an Ultimaker printer. That is why I occasionally spend time designing parts with CAD software, play around with settings in our slicing software (Ultimaker Cura) and deconstructing printheads 😉. At the end of the day, I reflect and summarize my findings, pay a quick visit to my busy printer, and head home.
The culture within Ultimaker is very inviting. The people are friendly and from the first moment I stepped into the office, I felt at home. What stands out within the culture of Ultimaker is the passion for 3D printing. Everyone is genuinely interested in each other’s projects and progress. The team is eager to offer their help whilst at the same time giving me a sense of responsibility and relevance. There is also a pinball machine in the back office which some of the colleagues use in their break. I love to play a game or two with them and try to beat the rankings, which I have not succeeded at so far. Some moments with my supervisor Paola are fun as well, when we switch languages so I contact her in Italian and she contacts me in Dutch.
Transformation. All of the values are important but I think personal transformation stands out for me. I believe that it is crucial to never stop learning and to continuously try to improve yourself. Not only is it an investment in yourself, but it can also influence the people around you in a good way. A few years ago I had a company tour where one sentence stayed with me: “Nobody can know where you will work, but wherever you go in the end, make sure that there is room for you to develop, improve and learn constantly.”
Besides 3D printing, I like to spend my time playing field hockey, which I have been doing since I was six years old. A more recent hobby of mine is playing squash. Two years ago, I started playing with some friends and I am now completely addicted to it. My greatest passion is skiing, which is something not often done in the Netherlands 😉. Therefore, I try to find as many opportunities as I can to travel to the Alps. The more exclusive this hobby is, the more I can look forward to it.
Qualities in a future team member
Passion and ambition. The most important characteristics that an employee can have is the willingness to spend their time on something they love doing, and wanting to achieve more than what they currently can. That also motivates them to get through the more unpleasant parts of their job, which will always be there.