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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Carbomorph… D&T and the University of Warwick

This week our Year 12 & 13 Product Design students were able to meet up with Dr Simon Leigh from the University of Warwick and Iain Major from 3D Systems. Dr Leigh works in the School of Engineering, his work has been focused on developing innovative materials, machines and devices based around the technology of 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing.

Dr Leigh has developed a new material called Carbomorph, it's a very interesting polymer (plastic) composite that actually conducts electricity! Ok, there are other polymers that can do this but the really new thing about Carbomorph is that I can be printed using a 3D printer.

At Clevedon School we have been 3D printing with our students for quite a long time and Dr Leigh had heard about us through the Internet and 3D Systems (Bits from Bytes Ltd). So to cut a long story short, he gave us some Carbomorph to experiment with (even before the research paper was published, so it had to be kept secret!)

Dr Leigh came to school to explain how a new material is developed, how the research paper is published, how to make Carbomorph, how Warwick is developing 3D printing, what engineering is like at uni, and much more! Our students were fascinated!

Our students were given a challenge…. And a homework! …”What new designs can you come up with to 3D print with Carbomorph?”. This was their chance to show off their innovative thinking. The students shared their ideas in a sort of “Think Tank” session and I think Dr Leigh was amazed at what what they came up with!


Mr White was also able to demonstrate a prototype iPad stylus that used a Carbomorph tip and physical on screen “game players” for ipad games… A product developed from an idea shared by one of our Year 10 GCSE Product Design students. Something Dr Leigh and his undergraduate students hadn't thought of!

So overall this has been a fantastic opportunity for our students to take part in a University development project and it has been really enjoyed by everyone involved. A huge thank you to Dr Leigh and his colleagues at The University of Warwick for letting us join in this project.


#3DPrinting your own mobile (cell) phone shell. A D&T project?

Nokia are possibly the first mobile phone company to release designs for a 3D printing the shell for a mobile phone. In this case it's the Nokia Lumina 820 which has a user removable back. Hopefully other models might follow, and other manufacturers might follow suit!

Picture credit : Nokia Developer Wiki


This is a first step forwards by Nokia, it's long been possible to 3D print covers for phones and indeed there are many designs for a whole range of phones available on sharing sites such as Thingiverse. But this is the first time I have come across actually printing the back case/shell of the phone. And to be fully supported by Nokia themselves is really forward looking. We keep hearing how 3D printing is “the next big thing” and “on the brink of making in the consumer market” and perhaps this is an indication that at least one company is taking this seriously.

The 3D files provided are in .stl and .stp format so should be easily modified to your own custom design with a suitable CAD program. (Unfortunately you will need to have a Nokia ID and be registered with Nokia Developer to download these files). Having these files available means that a lot of guesswork, careful measuring and “reverse engineering” the original case/shell design isn't necessary and a lot of frustration from designing a case that when printed doesn't quite fit will hopefully be avoided. The files can be accessed here http://www.developer.nokia.com/Community/Wiki/3D_print_a_shell_for_your_Nokia_Phone

So if you have a Nokia Lumina here are a few suggestions from the Nokia 3D printing wiki that you could try….Backs, Built-in belt clip or loop, Attachment point for camera accessories, Raised texture for non-slip grip, Winding post for headphone cable, Accommodation for larger batteries, Mounts/holders, Car mount, Bicycle mount, Backpack hanger, Accessories, Camera accessories, Extra SIM or MicroSD holder.

And of course this sort of design task is one that will really catch the attention of students as well as challenge their skills!…

Just a pity I don't have a Nokia Lumina !


More prints from Satakunta University

I couldn't help but notice the quality (and size) of the 3D prints being archived by the students at Satakunta University….. Wow!



Welcome to the new home for my 3D printing bog

I have had to move my blog to another platform.

But the good news is that you have found here… https://3dprintineducation.wordpress.com/

Like the new name, eh?

Why have I moved? Nothing sinister, it's simply because I use the Blogsy iPad app to do most of my blogging and since early December 2012 Blogsy has not been able to access my old blog through the Posterous API.

My apologies to those who regularly visit my blog (and there are quite a few of you according to the analytics).
If you are a regular visitor please update any favourites or bookmarks to my new address, and if you are a new visitor please add this link to keep up to date with the news https://3dprintineducation.wordpress.com/

I have transferred everything I could from the old blog and you should find all the older posts below this one. And hopefully all the other links and pages have copied across too.

Best wishes


Designing, prototyping, 3D printing… and augmented reality.


3D CAD is fantastic and students using it can use it to design their products with relative ease. Even better if they output their designs to 3D printers or CNC machines. But there are times when visualising the designed object in the “real environment” can be difficult. Visualising the object “in situ” before committing to printing or machining can be useful in determining whether the design is correct, suitable for purpose or “looks right”.

Ok so it is possible to “Photoshop” an image of the CAD design into a photo of the environment but wouldn’t it be better if this could be done in 3D?…. With augmented reality this is possible and using an iPad and a suitable app relatively easy to do.

The photo attached to this post only shows half of the story… Its not possible to show a 3D scene using 2D media! The object (a model 3DTouch 3D printer) is 3D, moving the iPad around this virtual object does actually allow you to see it from above, sides, front, back, etc.

Yes the object viewed using augmented reality is still a “virtual object” but as a method of “testing” ideas before actually prototyping or making the object is another tool available to designers… Used in isolation I’m not certain how useful augmented reality actually can be, but as a first check in an iterative design process I can see some potential for some students in some design projects.

I have a feeling that teaming augmented reality with 3D printing could be a powerful combination. I hope to try this out with students soon and intend to get them to design objects, test them with augmented reality and modify their designs before 3D printing them.

If you fancy giving it a go then you might be interested in trying the iPad app “Augment” https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/augment/id506463171?mt=8 For a free app (at the time of posting this) it is really powerful, a range of 3D formats can be imported (.stl, .3ds, .obj etc) and of course these can be designed in CAD or downloaded from sites such as Thingiverse. Imported objects can be scaled, rotated, moved, photographed etc. And to get you started there are a number of lovely sample files available in the app too.

Cubex A new 3D printer


Introducing the new 3D printer from 3D Systems … The Cubex (big brother to the Cube printer).
It has a huge print bed (just like its predecessor the Bits from Bytes 3D Touch). 3 colour printing and new software.

Cool!…. I’ll have to start saving for one of these!

Further details from the Cubify website http://cubify.com/cubex/index.aspx?tb_cubex_learn

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