Additive manufacturing, industry 4.0, Industry four point zero, screen shot of a graph showing industry 4.0 cycle, from CPD and Training on 3D printing for teachers and pupils in education in the UK

Advanced Hacking from our new Hub

We are proud to announce the launch of our latest CREATE Education Hub at one of the countries finest higher education institutions; Imperial College London. The hub was launched in conjunction with Imperial College’s new Advanced Hackspace and to set the ball rolling we hosted the College’s biggest hackathon ever.

The remit, under the banner of ‘Additive Sounds’, was to conceive, design and create a working prototype for a new product combining 3D Printing and Music. The challenge was to do this in 2 days.

Ultimaker's Ready for Use
Ultimaker’s Ready for Use

The event kicked off with inspirational talks given by Paul Croft introducing the CREATE Education Project and the power of sharing. Followed by Hal Watts of Searu, the design team behind Pyramidi, an art instillation funded by and Yuri Suzuki that had utilized the rapid prototyping powers of 3D printing in developing the popular ‘Digital Revolution’ instillation in the Barbican. Finally a talk given by Miika Hyytiäinen, composer of the world’s first 3D printed opera ‘Aikainen’.

Enthused and inspired by the talks, participants formed teams and began to talk through ideas for the hackathon. The limited time frame did not appear to limit the scope of ideas and after a good night sleep the teams began to design their products.

A range of ideas that was as varied as it was challenging from an auto-tuning guitar to biologically controlled music and on to a 3D printed eternal feedback loop amongst others. The teams used simple electronics and Ultimaker 3D printers to start realizing their ideas.

After only 16 hours of development time and an overnight printing session the teams gave a presentation showcasing their products to a panel of judges. What a testament to the caliber of the young British minds at Imperial College to come up with working prototypes of advanced electronic products.

The learning experience for the participants was wide and varied. Experts in CAD, Additive Manufacture, Electronics, Robotics and Electronic Music were on hand during the development stage to help iron out any issues. The hands-on experience gained by the teams was invaluable to learning new skills and the ‘real world’ application provided immediate feedback.

Each team had a 3D printer to work with and the final prints ran over night. The teams were given a few hours in the morning to complete their final touches before presenting their products to the judging panel.



The panel of judges had a tough time picking the winning teams as all the entries were fantastic and after some serious debate the winners were picked. 

Overall Winner: The Avengers Two


The Avengers
The Avengers

Ultimaker Prize: Ultimaker Original Kit

The ‘Heart Breaker’ is a device that senses the user’s heartbeat in order to dynamically adjust one’s musical experience. The team was able to use a wide range of the components available. They 3D printed a piece of wearable tech that incorporated a heart rate monitor; this connected to an Arduino and into Ableton Live software to produce a control mechanism for the tempo of the music. The judges commended the possibilities of this device and were impressed by how the team brought all their varied skills together.

Best Use of 3D Printing: MAK



Prize: Tickets to Digital Revolution at the Barbican

The MAK team delighted the judges by coming in from left field. They created an open source design to turn the 3D printer itself into a musical instrument. By developing an attachment to the printer head which included an arm with a flex sensor (all 3D printed)- the device played notes using the shape of whatever was being printed at the time. The judges admired the innovation behind this device and its creative use of the design brief.

Best Sound Innovation: Mr. Solenoid


Mr Soleniod
Mr Soleniod

Prize: Mighty Boom Ball Speaker

Mr. Solenoid impressed the crowds with his slick execution. Using a leap motion controller as an interface device, a series of partially 3D printed solenoids were used to strike wine glasses suspended on 3D printed stands. The wine glasses were filled with varying quantities of water to tune them to different notes. Not only was the leap motion controller used to activate the solenoids; it was also used to set off a series of electronic sounds- making for an interesting combination of the acoustic and electronic. The design was praised for its high level of interactivity.

Most Fun: Artist Formally Known as Print


The artist formerly known as Print
The artist formerly known as Print

Prize: Bare Conductive Glowing House Kit

The ‘Ultifranz’ device created by the ‘Artist Formally Known as Print’ is an interactive instrument designed to get children more engaged in 3D printing, music and electronics. Using a 3D printed housing with multiple theramin’s inside; the anthropomorphic ‘Ultifranz’ makes various sounds all depending on how you play with it. The open source nature of the design means that it can be further developed by other interested parties in the education and maker communities. The judges hope that the team will continue to work on it.

Honourable Mentions:


A beautifully executed idea which the judges came to know as ‘Printception’. Using sounds sampled from a 3D printer, a waveform of the sound was modeled and printed. This was then used as a housing to cover some clever Arduino based electronics. When the waveforms on the print were touched, the sampled 3D printer sounds were played. Although this idea was one of the better executed ones the judges felt that the 3D printed part was not intrinsic to the idea – rather a wonderful addition to it.


The Autotuners designed and made an automated guitar tuning device. They incorporated 3D printed machine elements which included printed gears. Their device worked wonderfully with a homemade fretboard. This team had one of the best engineered designs and executed it incredibly well.

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