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3D printing for “proof of concept”

One of our A Level students has a very interesting project for her coursework. It's all about designing and making a stage set for a small or travelling theatre company. Of course the set has to be easy to assemble, take down and transport, so she has investigated using lightweight materials and a bespoke system for assembling a framework. Being uncertain about how the frame might fit together she has designed some fittings using Autodesk Inventor and 3D printed them using our 3D Systems CubeX machines… Just to prove that the concept will work!

Her next steps will be to refine the designs having found out that her idea works ready for final production. Really looking to forwards to seeing how this iterative designing develops…. Great work Polli!

@Teach_Design @3DSystemscorp @Cubify and #3DPrinting

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!



#3DPrinting Science homework with @ClevedonDT

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!

#Raspberry_pi case and @Cubify Cube

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.



@Cubify Draw app for #3DPrinting with iPad

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.


#3DPrinting Learning Hub

At my school we run termly (6 times a year) Learning Hub meetings. These allow teachers from Clevedon and Gordano schools to learn new things about teaching and learning and share ideas.

This evening was my turn to host a Hub meeting. Not only were there teachers from the usual two schools but we were also joined by teachers from Nailsea School's D&T department. And of course the theme was about 3D printing.

We were also lucky enough to have Iain Major from 3D Systems come along to help out.

The session started with a presentation about 3D printing both in school and how it is related to what is happening in industry, fashion, medicine etc. The delegates then created their own designs using the Cubify web apps…. And of course then had the opportunity to print these using Cube printers.

The session that started at 4pm was due to finish at 5.15pm, but the last people left well after 7pm…. I think they enjoyed it and were captivated by the technology!

And here is a video taken from the presentation.

Before finishing this post I must thank the 10+ visitors from Gordano and Nailsea Schools and of course staff from my own department who stayed too. And also a huge thank you to Iain Major from 3D Systems for bringing along another Cube 3D Printer, joining in the conversations and helping most of the delegates with printing their designs created using the Cubify Web apps.

UWE and @ClevedonDT students working together. Recycling and #3DPrinting

This evening a group of D&T students were able to work with Sam Millington a BSc Product Design Student from UWE (University of the West of England, Bristol, UK).

Sam has designed and made a prototype “Filament Extruder” for his final project. This machine takes ground up pieces of plastic from milk bottles (and/or other plastic recyclables) and makes new filament (rolls of plastic) to use in a 3D Printer.

Our students were able to discuss with Sam how he went about designing and making his degree project, and how the filament extruder might be used in schools. The students explored how the machine might be supplied to schools as a kit and how this could help students to understand how plastics can be (and are) recycled. Some interesting discussion took place about how students might form teams in their D&T lessons to build a machine, set up a company to collect and recycle scrap plastics and make 3D printed objects from the plastic to sell. A really cool Eco friendly project that if supported by teaching and learning resources would be interesting for schools teaching STEM.

We all wish Sam good luck in the final development of his filament extruder… And of course good luck with the work for his degree!


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