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#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.


Buggy wheels… #3DPrinting with a Cube (time lapse)

I have just put together a Picaxe (microcontroller) buggy for use with my students next term… Needed some better wheels! So….

I decided to go through the complete process to design and make some new wheels. I started with creating a design using the Cubify Invent CAD software. This software is really looking good, no frills and simple enough for students to get the hang of. The stl file was processed in the Cube software (only 7 mouse clicks!) and sent by Wi-Fi.

20 minutes later….

And I couldn't resist using my iPad to record the whole process in a video… Including a time lapse sequence of the actual print taking place.



Another great project for my students in school?!

Pi day and #3DPrinting

Thursday 14th March was pi day and as it happened to fall on the day that our Vex robotics group meets after school one of our students wanted to celebrate by 3D printing a Raspberry Pi case. (Ok not really a vex activity and perhaps not what pi day was really about, but….)

Printing took longer than our evening meeting… And we didn't quite make it on pi day but here is the result. A lovely Raspberry Pi commuter case, downloaded from Thingiverse and printed on our 3DS Bits from Bytes 3D Printer.



Prototypes and #3DPrinting

A quick preview of some product prototypes being developed using 3D Printing by our AS level students… Retractable headphones, motorised school compass and an ergonomic knife sharpener…. More to follow later.

Students not afraid to experiment with #3Dprinting

When designing for 3D printing I often find that students “push their luck” and sometimes incorporate features into their designs that even with several years experience in 3D printing I personally wouldn't even attempt.

Well that's exactly what happened this week. Some of my students are doing a tried and tested printing project that I have done with several groups … Design and make a bespoke USB stick case. Anyway, one of my students got carried away adding a surface texture of 1mm diameter bumps and a tiny hole (1mm square) right through the lid of his USB stick. I smiled to myself and warned the student that these wouldn't show on the final print…. And you've guessed it… They did! Each of the bumps is clearly visible and yes the hole does actually go right through. (Maybe a bit of swallowing of humble pie needed?)


Click the above picture to see a larger version.

And here are a few technical details… The lid is 20x14x12mm wall thickness is variable but approximately 1.5mm. The object was printed in ABS using a Bits from Bytes 3D Touch machine at a medium layer thickness of 0.25mm (now I'm wondering what would be possible with 0.125mm layers). The g code generation software was Axon 3 (alpha).

Oh, and if you fancy doing the project in schools then I have produced a free lesson resource that can be downloaded here http://wiki.bitsfrombytes.com/index.php/Bespoke_USB_Stick


FABRICATED The new world of #3D printing

Look at what dropped through my post box today!

Really excited as I was fortunate enough to contribute towards the writing of this book…. Well at least chapter 9 “A factory in the classroom”.

I haven't yet had a chance to read the book in its entirety but dipping onto it at random I must say that Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman have certainly hit the nail on the head in their practical and imaginative insight into the question… “How will 3D printing change my life”?

To quote from the back cover of the book… “What would you create if you had a machine that could make (almost) anything? Fabricated offers you practical and imaginative insight into the question, “How will 3D printing change my life?” This book is an informative and fast-paced exploration of 3D printing technologies and the people who use them. You'll take a journey to design studios, businesses, schools, and cutting-edge research labs. Based on hundreds of hours of interviews, Fabricated explores the promise and peril of a 3D printed present and future. Businesses will be liberated from the tyrannies of economies of scale Factories and global supply chains will shrink, finding themselves closer to their customers The law, already reeling from digital media, will once again need to be redefined Our environment might breathe easier in a 3D printed economy, or it could choke on a rising tide of plastic 3D printed digital and intelligent, adaptive materials will change our relationship with the physical world If you're intrigued with new technology, business strategy, popular science, or the social impact of technology, Fabricated will fascinate you”.

So, if you are an engineer, educator, designer, or in business there is something in this book for you. The chapters covered are… 1 Everything is becoming science fiction. 2 A machine that can make almost anything. 3 Nimble manufacturing: good, fast and cheap. 4 Tomorrow's economy of printable products. 5 Printing in layers. 6 Design software, the digital canvas. 7 Bioprinting in “living ink”. 8 Digital cuisine. 9 A factory in the classroom. 10 Unleashing a new aesthetic. 11 Green, clean manufacturing. 12 Ownership, safety, and new legal frontiers. 13 Designing the future. 14 The next episode of 3D printing.

The great thing about this book is that it isn't a simple “how to use a 3D printer” publication… At the current rate of progress in 3D printing that would be obsolete before it even reached the shelves, this book seeks to explore some of the deeper implications of 3D printing…. How this technology can change our lives!

The book is available in printed and ebook formats, and here is a link to it on Amazon.


#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!