Yesterday saw me getting up really early (too early for a Saturday!) for a long drive from Clevedon to York for the launch of the Teach Design Tech Centres (TDTC).
To be factually correct it was “launch mkII” as the storm back in October meant that only some of the centres could travel down to Clevedon for the first meeting.
After an introduction from the Teach Design guys we got down to the business of looking at what the centres would be able to provide to local schools…. Including 3D printing with 3D Systems machines, Autodesk Inventor, VEX robotics, Cleapss health and safety and a whole lot more.
…And then a quick introduction to “3D printing in schools” by yours truly and some practical advice on “how to get started” by Iain Major (from 3D Systems) with the Cube and CubeX machines.
Lunch, taken on the hoof, brought the opportunity for some informal networking amongst the team and a sneaky look around the facilities at Steve's school to see what ideas could be “magpied”.
After wrapping up the meeting it was time to pack up and head south on our 3.5hr journey (thanks for the lift Iain!)
Everyone left buzzing with excitement with the great things to come from the 20 TDTCs go online in January 2014 to provide training across the UK ….for teachers, by teachers!
So, if the development of the TDTCs has whetted your apatite for some training in up to date D&T keep an eye on the Teach Design website. http://www.teachdesign.org.uk
Great news announced today…. Check out the 3D Systems press release..
November 20, 2013: Leading 3D printing manufacturer 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) today announced an innovative partnership with Teach Design, a not-for-profit organisation set up to provide very low cost training to UK Design Technology teachers.
Twenty regional Teach Design Tech Centres are being established in secondary schools across the UK and will be equipped with award-winning 3D Systems Cubeand CubeX 3D printers which will be made available for use across the curriculum by both primary and secondary schools.
The move by 3D Systems ensures that teachers will be able to learn how to maximise the use of 3D printers in the classroom, not just in design technology but across all areas of the curriculum. The machines will also be made available to STEMNET ambassadors to promote 3D printing in their voluntary work with children.
3D Systems UK Education Co-ordinator Iain Major said, “This partnership with Teach Design is very exciting as training is the key to ensuring that both staff and students can get the most from this cutting edge technology. 3D printing is a wonderful medium to allow students to understand the processes of designing for production and discover their innovation potential as we live in the time of the circular economy. It is going to be very exciting to see what students come up with.”
Teach Design’s co-founder Phil Holton said “We are delighted with the generous donation of these fabulous machines. We plan to train thousands of teachers in the use of the Cube and CubeX printers to get the most from using them in class. We will also be publishing lots of project resources for teachers to use with their students.”
Learn more about 3D Systems commitment to education today.
On Friday I was given the opportunity to run a workshop for the North Somerset Learning Exchange… A primary school conference called Building on Making Learning Irresistible. My workshop was primarily to look at the implications of the new national curriculum for Design and Technology.
The first part of the workshop involved a presentation and discussion “unpicking” the key parts of the document and looking at how schools might change the activities they do with their children in the context of their school.
The second part was “hands on” with some of the newer technologies, 3D Printing, Robotics and programming, and CAD/CAM.
The conference happened to be taking place on the BBC “Children in Need” day. So the mascot Pudsey Bear inevitably made a few appearances.
Before finishing this post I must thank a few people for helping out with the organisation, loan of equipment and inspiration for the workshop…. Clevedon School Learning Hub, North Somerset Learning Exchange and Teach Design for all the organisation and admin. 3D Systems for providing the Cube 3D printer, Roland DG for providing the vinyl cutters, VEX Robotics for the loan of the VEX IQ Clawbot.
Middle of the school holiday and I found myself in school doing some teaching… Some may say a little bit crazy. But all for good reasons and very exciting.
Ok, so it wasn't like a normal teaching day, this was something a bit special, perhaps I had better explain a bit more fully…
I have found myself involved with a new organisation called “Teach Design” http://www.teachdesign.org.uk who have recently set up to promote and support D&T and STEM. They are partnering with some leading hardware and software companies to provide equipment, training, resources etc to schools throughout the country… One of the aims of Teach Design is to set up “Teach Design Tech Centres” (TDTCs), and this is where my involvements starts.
One of the Teach Design partners is 3D Systems who manufacture the Cube and CubeX 3D Printers and as you may realise I have worked closely with 3D Systems for some considerable time. So I suppose I was seen as ideally placed to provide some training in 3D printing to the guys who will soon be running the TDTCs and using 3D Systems machines.
Unfortunately, not everyone from the 10 TDTCs were able to make it down to Clevedon today but we made a start on the training anyway … the meeting/training had been rescheduled from earlier in the week due to a huge storm (hurricane?) that had swept the country. But we still had delegates from as far afield as Wales and Derbyshire.
And as for the training… As you can see from the pictures everyone was shown how to set up and print with both Cube and CubeX machines ready to set up in their own school. And at this point I must thank Iain and Aaron from 3DS for their help in doing this. And as an aside, it was a bit of a proud moment for me to see Aaron who is an ex-student of mine teaching and supporting other teachers!
Coming up soon I will be running a training day together with the Iain from 3D Systems, showing the guys from TeachDesign how to set up and use the Cube and CubeX 3D printers.
As you may gather from this blog I have been using RapMan, BfB3000 and 3DTouch machines in school for quite a long time now and have recently been using a 3D Systems Cube…. But I hadn't used a CubeX.
Just over a week ago I received a CubeX Trio and since then have been tinkering around doing a few test prints just to get myself acquainted with it and see what differences there might be.
Even in this short time I have been really impressed by the CubeX. It is very well built and it looks good too!
My trusty 3DTouch could produce some excellent multi colour/material prints but I have found that it is put in the shade by the CubeX…. It's faster, even more accurate and easier to use.
The CubeX software is a little more complex than that for the Cube (inevitably due to the 3 print jets) but I found that importing a .stl file with multiple shells and setting up a 3 colour print was really straight forwards.
Wanting to really try it out I designed this twisted hexadecagon (16 sided) container using CAD software and set it up for printing in very patriotic red, white and blue PLA. Keeping the object small (about 30mm across) meant that there would be lots of swaps between the printjets in a short time, and the spiral meant that the colours would slightly overlay each other…. An ideal opportunity to see if the colours smudge into each other. As you can see, after a couple of hours printing the little container printed superbly!.. It's worth noting that all the pictures shown here are showing the objects straight off the CubeX, no cleaning up, no de-stringing, etc.
I must say that I'm very impressed with the Cubex and I'm sure my students will be too!
The Department for Education in England has published a report on 3D printing in schools to enrich STEM and design subjects.
Download the document here
The document looks at the experiences of 21 schools using 3D printers for the first time in Science, Maths and D&T.
A write up on the Telegraph newspaper goes on to say thet £500K will be invested to allow 60 teaching schools to buy printers and train teachers to use them effectively.
Pretty much every break and lunch time this week there have been two visitors to the D&T department. And I have been feeling pretty bad that with all the preparations for our open evening earlier this week I wasn't able to help them.
But their persistence has paid off!
Today I was able to give them the time they deserved… It turned out that they wanted some help with their science homework. These guys had been asked to make a model of a cell and they had a great idea of how they could do it…. 3D printing!
They did everything right, rather than just come along and expect everything to happen, they came along fully prepared. They had investigated how to create the correct 3D design file using a CAD program and saved it ready to print.
So, with the right sort of attitude and determination Charlie and Simon managed to get my full attention. At break time we changing to some lovely red plastic in the machine and started it printing. By lunch time they were able to collect the first half of their 3D printed red blood cell.
Here are the guys seeing their cell for the first time.
And of course a short video of the whole process
Well done Charlie and Simon!