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Monthly Archives: January 2011


Students Recreate Eruption Effects with RapMan


I really don’t think I have to say too much about this article, just have a read J

North Somerset Mercury Jan 27 2011



Times Education Supplement

TES – The Times Education Supplement is published weekly for teachers and educators and has a circulation of over 50K copies in the UK.

On 14/1/2011 in the “Noticeboard” section the following brief article appeared about the use of RapMan in my school to print 3D terrain models – a cross curricular project with D&T and Geography.

It has already generated interest and as a result other schools have e-mailed to find out more details.

Free resources for this project can be found here http://wiki.bitsfrombytes.com/index.php/Geography_-_3D_Terrain and here http://wiki.bitsfrombytes.com/index.php/Geography_-_Mount_Saint_Helens_Volcano


Guardian Classroom Innovation Award – Results

Just a quick post to let you know the result of the Guardian Classroom Innovation Award competition….. we didn’t win L

Ok, so we didn’t win…. but we were not unsuccessful! Lots of people, teachers, students etc. got to hear about 3D printing as a new technology that is “accessible” to students, schools and colleges.  Clevedon School and BfB were “in the public eye”, online, at the BETT Show and on BBC radio….  and to me, that makes it all the more worthwhile.


I’m still really pleased that we made it through to the final 3 in a UK wide competition… maybe next year…. ????


If you missed out on all of this then have a look here for the results and to see the videos from the shortlisted entries. http://www.guardian.co.uk/classroom-innovation/classroom-innovation-awards-sh…


And finally, a HUGE thank-you to everyone who voted for us either by e-mail or at the BETT show.




BBC Radio Interview

3D Printing by Bbc
Listen on Posterous


At about 9.00am this morning (15/1/2011)I was interviewed live on air by the BBC about Clevedon Schools entry in the Guardian newspaper’s competition- the Classroom Innovation Award.

9.00am on a Saturday morning is far too early … I missed my “duvet time”…. and as it was going out live I do have to admit that I was a little nervous, I hope it didn’t show too much.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy listening to it, and I’m still keeping my fingers crossed waiting to hear how we got on in the competition.


The “podcast” above is an extract from the BBC Radio Bristol ” Saturday Breakfast” http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p00czj95/Saturday_Breakfast_15_01_2011/ (skip to about 2:48:45)



Safe support material removal…. that really works!!!

As some of you will possibly remember I upgraded my RapMan to a double extruder some time ago and did some prints with ABS for the object and PLA for support material. I did my first prints like this during last summer and I used Caustic Soda or Lye (NaOH) to remove the support really quite successfully. A couple of months later I tried again and with a dangerously strong mix of NaOH even after 2 days the support was still intact…. I suspected that it was because of the colder weather. I was also very concerned that this was far too risky to do in school, we needed to find an alternative approach!

So I talked with the guys at BfB and thinking around the problem it started to become obvious why the PLA is biodegradable…. It’s to do with 2 things- HEAT and MOISTURE. i.e. the things that make it degrade when buried in a rubbish tip or compost heap.

The guys at BfB then started experimenting and passed on their ideas for me to try out too. And here is the good news…


The process is somewhat slower than with NaOH but considerably safer.

As a result of this testing it looks like all you need to do is immerse the part and support into a container of hot water at 80 degrees Celsius for about 36 to 48 hours… after this time the PLA starts to go brittle and crumbly – you can easily and safely crush it (almost to a powder) in your fingers.

The problem is how to maintain a container of water at 80 degrees Celsius for this amount of time… The guys at BfB allowed me to borrow an ultrasonic cleaner tank for a few days and this seemed to work very well… I only used the heater not the ultrasonic part which may or may not help (not tested yet)… I have a feeling BfB might consider supplying these tanks sometime.

So for support materials removal…

Method 1… SAFER…. But slower… Hot water at 80 degrees Celsius for 36 – 48 hours

Method 2… RISKY… But faster… Hot, NaOH (time depends on strength and temperature)

(method 2 is made a bit safer by using a proper tank but don’t forget NaOH is very corrosive and you should carefully assess the risks to yourself and others before you consider trying it)

For those of you who have not come across ultrasonic tanks there is a photo attached (other styles and makes are available) In school why not see if your science department has one of these that you can use.


Essential to have…

Thermostatic control, A lid to prevent evaporation, Safety cut-out (as liquids and electricity don’t tend to work well together), Correct voltage machine, A timer is probably useful, Ultrasonic may or may not help… not tested by me.

Education Ambassadors at Euromold – Part 2


In an earlier post I blogged about students from Clevedon School (UK) visiting the Euromold 2010 exhibition in Frankfurt (Germany). This has now been reported in our local newspaper and I thought you might like to see.

I would just like to say again a huge “thank-you” to the guys from Bits from Bytes and 3D Systems for giving us this opportunity.



Guardian newspaper’s Classroom Innovation Award …. UPDATE !!!!

UPDATE !!!!!

I have just heard earlier today that our entry to the Guardian newspaper’s Classroom Innovation Award has been shortlisted. (for details see my blog entry 2 below this one)

The top 3 presentations are now to be shown on the Asus stand  at the BETT 2011 show in Olympia, London, UK. Visitors to the stand can then vote for the best idea.

So if you are going to the BETT show please drop into the Asus stand Hall/Stand:  K29and vote for us… J

Don’t forget you will be voting for Clevedon School’s 3D Printing video in the secondary school category J


… Oh, and in all my excitement I almost forgot…. A HUGE thank-you  to everyone who e-mailed their vote for us


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