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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 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.
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.
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?!
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.
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