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Supersonic Car

In a couple of weeks time I am going to run a STEM day for some of our year 8 students. The day is intended to be a pilot for another STEM day later in the year for the whole of year 9.

During the pilot project we are intending to set the students a “team challenge”… To design and make a rocket powered model car, measure the average speed along a course (they will have to work out how to do that themselves!), do a mini research project, and make a presentation to the whole group.

Of course it's likely that Bloodhound SSC will crop up sometime during the day… So I thought I would see if I could 3D print a model of the Bloodhound car using a Cube 3D printer.

Here are the models I produced… One about 60mm long and the larger one 115mm.


… Wonder if showing the students this will inspire any of them to use 3D printed parts in the design of their rocket powered cars?


Crossing boundaries.

After the normal school day was over I had an extra lesson to teach today… only this was no ordinary lesson. As you may have probably gathered I usually teach Design & Technology but tonight I was crossing boundaries and venturing into the world of Geography.

This “Masterclass” was a real new experience for me, not only was I tackling Geography but the students were visiting from another school. Ben Cotton from St Katherine’s School near Bristol UK brought three of his A ‘Level students and the head of the D&T Department to my school in Clevedon to have a look at our 3D printers and some of the teaching and learning resources that I have developed and made freely available on the Bits from Bytes wiki.

Whilst munching on M&M’s and Twizzlers,( kindly sent to us by 3D Systems Ltd)  we ran through the process of downloading satellite data, scaling and converting it for printing 3D terrain models on our RapMan and BfB3000 printers. And of course we printed a small version of the “after eruption” model of Mt St Helens. The students were fascinated by the process and I also learned a lot about pyroclastic flow, lateral blasts and also that volcanoes come in different varieties with strange names like strato, compound (or composite?) and shield…. Not bad eh? Especially when the last time I did Geography was as a pupil over 30 years ago.

We then moved on to look at a case study of a project to design a hydroelectric dam in northern Italy. This case study by Marco Giubelli of Sigma Designs used a RapMan printer to help the public visualise the environmental changes that would happen after the building of a new bigger dam.

And as if that wasn’t enough we managed to cram in a brief look at other Geography related projects and resources… wind turbines and architecture!

The students were fantastic and a real credit to Ben and St Katherine’s School. They were genuinely interested in the crossover between D&T and geography by using a RapMan and BfB3000 printer. They gave a “thumbs up” for the projects and resources and have shown an interest in following up this evening’s work with another session after their exams in the summer… I’m already looking forwards to this possibility.

If you are interested in doing this type of activity the resources that I produced can be downloaded from the BfB wiki.  http://wiki.bitsfrombytes.com/index.php/Teaching_Resources



Print your own DNA

This time about DNA and the double helix.  http://www.bitsfrombytes.com/wiki/index.php?title=Science_-_DNA


This resource is heavily based on the work by “Cathalgarvey” on Thingiverse… my thanks to him for producing the .stl files (and to Bogdan for spotting them and realising it would make a good T&L resource)


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