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!
3D printers these days are precision well engineered machines… Well that can certainly be said of the 3D Systems / Cubify CubeX.
But ever wondered how they are made? Here is a brilliant report by Fabaloo that sheds a little light on the process at the factory in Clevedon UK.
3D printing has had to take a bit of a back seat for a few weeks 😦
I have been very busy with setting up a STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) Challenge for our year 9 students during my school's Activities Week. It was the first STEM activity at my school and was hugely successful. Check out the blog here http://clevedonstem.wordpress.com
Anyway back to the 3D printing…. In preparation for next year I'm going to look at using Raspberry Pi for some more advanced “Systems and Control”. But to stand up to use in the classroom/workshop the board will probably need some protection. So, time to print a case.
I've printed similar things before using our 3D Touch printer but thought I would give it a go using the Cubify Cube instead.
And here are the results… I'm hugely impressed with the quality of the flat surfaces and even more impressive is that this print will require absolutely no post processing, sanding or finishing! These pictures are of the parts straight off the machine.
At the Teachmeet tonight Mr Davis one of our Science teachers did a presentation about some work he has been doing with Mr White from @ClevedonDT.
Mr Davis used the 123D Creature iPad app to create a 3D virtual model of a sperm cell and has experimented with showing students how it can be viewed in 3D with the Augment app. He also showed Mr White who said “How would you like to 3D print that?”… So after a bit more experimentation here is the result on YouTube.
The 3D printed cells were printed using a Cubify Cube printer and a 3D Touch.
So here is a great example of STEM teachers working together to produce something that can be used in lessons with both Science and D&T students!
I stumbled across Cubify Draw app for iPad earlier today… Just had to download it!
My initial thoughts were that it is very simple… Perhaps too simple but maybe this will develop over time. I then went on to start thinking about how this could be used in schools. And my thoughts instantly went towards primary school age children. What a fantastic way to get them to doodle an idea and start 3D printing on a Cube or Cubex printer within minutes of getting started… And no complicated CAD to get involved with.
Being so simple it will be necessary to think carefully about what the kids can design but instantly I was drawn towards the idea of personalised bespoke biscuit (cookie) cutters and the like. (I must be hungry whist writing this for my mind to wander towards food again!)
Anyway, I've had an initial try out with the app and can't wait to try printing some objects.