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#3DPrinting Sperm Cells and Augmented Reality at #TMClevedon

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!




STEM Challenge Day

Today our some of our Year 8 students took part in a STEM Challenge… Which included designing, making and testing a mini “supersonic” car… A bit like the Bloodhound SSC car that is being built in Bristol- to try to break the land speed record and achieve 1000mph.

The students also had the opportunity to make a presentation of their work to Iain Major, a visiting engineer from a company called 3D Systems… The local branch of the international company that designed and makes the Cubify Cubex and Cube 3D printers.

The students started the day being briefed about the challenge, organising themselves into teams and planning how to tackle the challenge.

Setting up at the start of the day…

Planning and research…also using iPads and the Bloodhound SSC augmented reality app

Getting on with some making! Amazingly some students wouldn't leave at break and lunch time… They wanted to carry on with the challenge.

Finding out about 3D printing… 3D printing has been used in developing some of the parts of the real Bloodhound project… Here the students are printing mini 3D models of Bloodhound using the new Cube printer.

The teams testing their models… They had to work out how to do this themselves. And of course do the Maths. They then compared their results to the speeds recorded with a data logger and light gate.

Some of the model cars.

And in this photo we can see some of the teams doing presentations of their work to Iain Major … The engineer from 3D Systems. Iain kindly gave the students feedback on their designs and presentations.

So, it was an absolutely fantastic day with students and teachers from D&T, Science and Maths all working together.

And of course we must thank Iain from 3D Systems for coming along to support us.

…. And next??… Watch out for our year 9 STEM challenge day later in the summer with the whole year group!

Designing, prototyping, 3D printing… and augmented reality.


3D CAD is fantastic and students using it can use it to design their products with relative ease. Even better if they output their designs to 3D printers or CNC machines. But there are times when visualising the designed object in the “real environment” can be difficult. Visualising the object “in situ” before committing to printing or machining can be useful in determining whether the design is correct, suitable for purpose or “looks right”.

Ok so it is possible to “Photoshop” an image of the CAD design into a photo of the environment but wouldn’t it be better if this could be done in 3D?…. With augmented reality this is possible and using an iPad and a suitable app relatively easy to do.

The photo attached to this post only shows half of the story… Its not possible to show a 3D scene using 2D media! The object (a model 3DTouch 3D printer) is 3D, moving the iPad around this virtual object does actually allow you to see it from above, sides, front, back, etc.

Yes the object viewed using augmented reality is still a “virtual object” but as a method of “testing” ideas before actually prototyping or making the object is another tool available to designers… Used in isolation I’m not certain how useful augmented reality actually can be, but as a first check in an iterative design process I can see some potential for some students in some design projects.

I have a feeling that teaming augmented reality with 3D printing could be a powerful combination. I hope to try this out with students soon and intend to get them to design objects, test them with augmented reality and modify their designs before 3D printing them.

If you fancy giving it a go then you might be interested in trying the iPad app “Augment” https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/augment/id506463171?mt=8 For a free app (at the time of posting this) it is really powerful, a range of 3D formats can be imported (.stl, .3ds, .obj etc) and of course these can be designed in CAD or downloaded from sites such as Thingiverse. Imported objects can be scaled, rotated, moved, photographed etc. And to get you started there are a number of lovely sample files available in the app too.

Wind tunnel project for 3D printing

A new Teaching and Learning resource for 3D printing on the BfB wiki…

Design and make a Wind Tunnel… This resource suggests ways to make a small wind tunnel using 3D printed parts and a few other odds and ends to test the aerodynamic forces on different models. Different models can be 3D printed and tested to compare their efficiency. This project will be suitable for Design and Technology, Science and maybe Mathematics.



3D printing with Adobe Photoshop!


Yes, you did read that correctly! It is possible to create 3D objects for 3D printing using Adobe Photoshop. It came as a bit of a surprise to me too. I suppose I have had my head buried in the more CAD approach of PTC Creo and Autodesk Inventor to notice that Photoshop has this capability.

So, how did I “discover” this capability? … Well this evening after school I had the pleasure of meeting up with some guys from Adobe (Senior Product Managers, Digital Imaging Architects and the like) together with one of the Directors of Bits from Bytes…. All to discuss 3D printing in education.

I suppose I really aught to apologise to everyone, our 1 hour meeting stretched to well over 2 hours and they had to travel up to Birmingham from the Bristol area afterwards, as usual my enthusiasm for this technology got the better of me and I bombarded these guys with examples of how we use our 3D printers and how this all fits into our D&T curriculum.

So, what’s next…. I really must find out more about how Adobe Photoshop works with 3D objects and see what can be done in schools as I can already see how a different approach (other than CAD software) could be useful for students designing in schools and colleges.

3DS Cubify web apps… In education?

As most people who follow my escapades in 3D printing in education will have probably gathered I a great fan of the 3D Systems / Bits from Bytes machines… currently RapMan kits and the fantastic 3D Touch. But I Also keep an eye on what is happening in the 3D printing world in general. So unsurprisingly I came across Cubify and the Cube printer (unsurprisingly because it is part of the 3DS portfolio of machines). Anyway, one of the impressive things about Cubify is that they are supporting the use of their machines with web apps to generate parts that can be printed on any 3D printer (they export as .stl files).

At the present time there are web apps to create bracelets, earrings, tags, rings, defenders, UFO’s, robots, licences and crowns. The apps can be accessed here http://cubify.com/apps.aspx

Now I’m very keen for students to 3D print their own designs but the Cubify apps open up all sorts of new educational opportunities. Now students can easily customise basic designs using the apps that are very easy to use and then print their own ring, bracelet, tag etc. So exposure to 3D printing technology need not only be for those students who have a working knowledge of 3D CAD software! And of course this also means that we can capture these youngsters at an even younger age.

Unfortunately I couldn’t get the app to work on my iPad, so I’ll have to fire up my trusty old laptop and see how I get on with this. Hopefully in the near future I shall report back and share my experiences.


To baldly go… (3D Printing)… Part 2


Following on from a previous post “To baldly go” Tim Rylands who visited D&T a couple of weeks ago has blogged about 3D Printing in the Design & Technology department here at Clevedon School. It makes a really interesting read, so check it out here http://www.timrylands.com/2012/06/07/3d-printing-at-clevedon-school/

Thanks Tim for the brilliant and very complimentary blog post!

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