3D Printing at Clevedon School

| June 7, 2012 | 0 Comments 

During our visit to Clevedon School, we had the unique opportunity to explore a 3D printing lesson with their AST Dave White (@davewhite60 on Twitter and his department twitter name is @ClevedonDT).

We were struck by how this application in D&T develops learning, in fascinating ways, across so many other curriculum areas, while carrying out a project: calculations, problem solving, shape, measure, properties of materials, and then can be a part of other subjects, for example exploring land formation in geography.

Dave has recorded his thoughts about using 3D printing in education:

3D printing technology is new… It is developing really quickly & as educators we can’t afford to miss out on keeping up with new technologies.

Students need to be aware of current industrial & commercial practices & the BfB machines are so affordable (both to purchase & the materials to run them) that this technology becomes “accessible” to them.

Rapid prototyping in schools has been limited to subtractive technologies… again costly in hardware and consumable materials, especially for the more complex parts. Designers and industrialist are moving towards additive technologies for prototyping and small batch production.

The use of 3D printing opens up a fast route to “Iterative designing”, students are able to design 3D parts, print, test and evaluate them, if it doesn’t work then try again. This inevitably increases innovation in designs that the students produce. It is possible to produce designs that are “impossible” to manufacture -even with 4 axis subtractive machines, yet these can be realised through 3D printing. Students have been “limited” in the past to designing and making things that can only be made by hand or through simple machine processes… to a great extent this limitation is virtually removed – “if you can draw it you can make it”… almost.

Student engagement…. Once they have mastered 3D designing and have produced their first 3D print they keep coming back for more! Holding a realistic 3D model in your hands communicates infinitely better than a computer image… a real wow factor. 3D printing is not just for D&T… Artistic sculptural forms can be designed and made; Geographers can model 3D terrain; Mathematical shapes can be modelled; Architectural and historical buildings/structures studied as 3D models; Moulds for food products; Cells, atoms, DNA and other scientific concepts can be modelled… etc. etc.

There are strong links to PLTS (Personal Learning and Thinking Skills). Creative thinkers and Reflective Learners… through iterative design processes. Team workers and Effective participants… collaborative design/make projects. etc

Dave’s document ‘Why 3D Printing‘ goes further to explain to other schools how he would justify the investment in this technology and its ‘future’, and even explores existing problems in the world that this technology can/might be able to solve?

Without going too far into the realms of fantasy… A 3D printer is/could be a “workshop on the desktop”, manufacturing complex designs in remote locations (even outer space) or in less economically developed countries becomes a reality. A physical bridge between cyberspace and physical reality… sending 3D objects around the world… without actually shipping them. But perhaps the medical/bio applications are where the greatest impact on mankind will happen …

Fantastic stuff!! Further interesting reading about this topic can be seen at Dave’s personal blog about 3D printing and his department blog about D&T news from Clevedon. The free teaching and learning resources Dave has published, including videos, PowerPoints, files and more are available on the Bits from Bytes Wiki (impressively, this page, as at the time of our visit, ‘has been accessed 97,531 times’) and “TES Resources” (some of these are repeats of those on the BfB wiki, but still worth a look). Thank you, Dave!


Category: 1) Events and Training days, 2) Useful n Interesting

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