Written by Jon Taylor – Head of Design, Cranleigh School

I took up the position of Head of Design at Cranleigh School, Surrey, in September this year. Previously I taught at Highgate School, North London, where I was Second in Department – Design Technology & Engineering. My teaching career started at Wellington College, Berkshire after completing my placement year from Brunel University where I studied Industrial Design & Technology.

Cranleigh School was founded in 1865. The School grew quickly to about 300 boys by the turn of the twentieth century. Further increases in numbers have taken place at various stages of expansion over the past century or so. Today there are just over 400 boys and 200 girls at Cranleigh, aged 13-18, of whom nearly three-quarters are boarders. The Design department at Cranleigh firmly believes that Designers and Engineers make our everyday lives more efficient, safe and enjoyable. The Design department is one that will constantly develop and adapt to our outside world. Pupils at Cranleigh experience the latest cutting edge technology as they harness the skills that allow them to stay ahead of the curve in today’s fast moving and ever changing society. The department is currently gearing up ready for the eagerly awaited subject reform and is looking forward to embarking upon the new OCR Design & Technology GCSE & A-Level courses.

3D Printing is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s society and I want to provide as much exposure of this as possible for both the pupils and staff within the department. Since arriving at Cranleigh I have begun equipping the staff and pupils with the skills required to CAD model using Autodesk Fusion360 and developing the departments knowledge and understanding of how 3D Printers operate. We have introduced forward facing assignments to our sixth form pupils who are currently designing and conceptualising products for the world of 2030. Each pupil will utilise 3D Printing within their design in some shape or form, whether this is prototyping their final concept or simply testing out new forms or configurations for their concepts.

Setting up a 3D Printing activity club was high on my list of priorities when I joined Cranleigh. I wanted pupils to understand how these machines actually produce a 3D print and what better way to achieve this than by building a machine from the ground up. I tasked one of my colleagues, Dan Reed, who had no previous knowledge with 3D printers to lead the activity in order to maximise the impact of the project department wide. It has been a huge success thus far, inspiring both Dan and the pupils. Dan’s enthusiasm for the project shines through and the pupils achieve a considerable amount during the 1 hour slot they spend building the printer each week. The pupils have even been dropping into the department in their spare time to brush up on their CAD skills to allow them to print their own models as soon as the Ultimaker build is complete.

CRANLEIGH DESIGN Ultimaker Original+ Kit Building (week 1)

Unpacking the kit to build an Ultimaker Original 3D printer
Students start building an Ultimaker Original 3D printer
building the frame of an Ultimaker Original 3D printer
Students starting to build an Ultimaker Original 3D printer
Students discussing how to build an Ultimaker Original 3D printer

During the first session of the build, we installed the 8 ball bearings into the front, back, left and right panels and installed the limit switches into each of the necessary panels. The ball bearings were quite stiff to push in but with the encouragement of a hammer, they went in smoothly. The lim-it switches were very easy to install with just a hex driver and was a very quick section to complete. We also prepared the bottom panel with Velcro straps and the cable ducts were very simple to put in place. The frame it-self was very straight forward to piece together and was very smooth as well to secure in place.

Overall, the first phase of the build was a success and nothing was dam-aged as it was very well prepared already and simple to understand exactly what to do at each stage so far.

John Low – L5th Loveday

Action shot of students building an Ultimaker Original 3D printer

CRANLEIGH DESIGN Ultimaker Original+ Kit Building (week 2)

attaching a hex bolt to an Ultimaker original

The first job this week was to screw in all the nuts and bolts into the frame. This took the majority of the time as it was fiddly and we had 27 bolts to fit. While some of the group were screwing the nuts and bolts another group were fixing the motor parts together. Once this was all completed and tightened we attached the motors to the back of the frame. When placing the motors, we had to make sure that the wires were facing downwards, and we had to make sure we didn’t attach the motor so tight so we are able to move the position of the motors later on.

We then attached the square wooden part to the top and the shorter ones on the top.

A smaller group began to arrange and assemble the sliding blocks, making sure they were facing the right direction. There was a lot of trial and error with this phase. We only managed to assemble 1 block.

Oscar Maclean—L5th

CRANLEIGH DESIGN Ultimaker Original+ Kit Building (week 3)

This week, we had two groups working on two separate parts of the printer. Luke, Rex and I were putting together the sliding blocks whereas the rest of the group started to place the x and y axles. To make the sliding blocks, we had 24 small pieces of wood, 4 sintered bushings, 24 hex nuts, and 20 bolts. We had to pile the wood up through the sintered bushing one by one on the right order. After all the pieces we needed were attached onto the sintered bushing, we had to attach the claws. To do this we had to screw them on to the bottom. Our same group then had to attach the caps as well. This was tricky as the screws were quite small and they had to go on all sides of the cube.

Meanwhile the other group were placing the x and y axles. This included two long shafts and two short shafts, 4 long timing belts, 10 pulley 8mm, 16 nuts and bolts, and 4 of the sliding blocks that our other group made. We didn’t fully finish this step but we put one axle through and attached the belt. Overall we had got to this stage reasonably quickly for the time that it should take. This will put us in a good position to carry on in the upcoming weeks.

Max Baines—L5th Loveday

Today was one of the trickiest part of assembly. We had to place the x and y axles and this was harder than we thought. Every side of the “box” required different steps to be followed. For the Front X Axle one had to insert it through the right panel and move it towards the left. On the Front X Axle we secured two timing pulleys, with the thin sides facing outwards, with the front sliding block in between. All of the other sides required very similar steps, which made it confusing, so after having secured all wooden caps, we realised that we had assembled the axles the wrong way around. Therefore, we had to unscrew all of the wooden caps, to realign the axles properly. One part we found quite difficult was screwing in the nuts and bolts in the corners, so it required two people to get it done efficiently.

Students finalising building an Ultimaker Original 3D printer
Students finish building an Ultimaker Original 3D printer together
Students finish building an Ultimaker Original 3D printer

CRANLEIGH DESIGN Ultimaker Original+ Kit Building (week 4)

Students building an Ultimaker Original 3D printer
Students wiring an Ultimaker Original 3D printer

Afterwards we started “assembling the z stage”. It took us a while to find the correct required parts. After finding them, we prepared the aluminium base plate. For this we had to place the two linear bearings over the corresponding holes in the corners. We had to loosely secure them with bolts, as we will have to calibrate them later on. The golden lead nut was placed in the middle of the aluminium base plate, also being secured with bolts. Next, we had to prepare the heated bed. This required us to place two glass retainer clips on the back of the heated bed, with the wide side at the bottom side. Then, we secured them with two countersunk bolts and two lock nuts each. Next, we inserted heated bed cables on both sides, before tightening the screws in the terminal to secure the wires in place, using a flat screwdriver… a good week but we have to finish off theses sections before progressing.

Luke Specogna—L5th

Students wiring an Ultimaker Original 3D printer
Students building an Ultimaker Original 3D printer
Ultimaker Original 3D printer on a school desk

The Ultimaker is starting to take shape.

CRANLEIGH DESIGN Ultimaker Original+ Kit Building (week 5)

Assembling & Installing the Z stage

This week we started adding the M6 washers over the knurled nuts, and put the knurled nuts through the three holes of the base plate and placing a spring on each of the knurled nuts. On the front two springs we placed a glass retainer clip and put the heated bed on top of the springs and secured them with three countersunk M3x20 bolts .Then we placed the heated bed cable clip over the bed cable and secured it with two M3x10 bolts. One annoying thing was not having numbers of parts on each. We then opened the glass retainer clips and slide the glass plate onto the heated bed and closed the clips. The next stage was the z stage cap, we pout the z stage cap over the back of the z stage. To cover the bearings, we used ten hex nuts, six M3x12bolts and 4 M3x14 bolts. We started the assembly of the z stage cap and placed the big 6 mm wooden part face down and toke the wooden middle parts and placed them faced down into the middle slots, we folded the 6mm wooden parts 90 degrees and attached it to the middle parts with four m3x14 bolts and four hex nuts. Lastly we placed six hex nuts in the slots at the sides and attached the wooden left and right parts with six m3x12 bolts. Rex Wilks—L5th East House.

Building an Ultimaker Original 3D printer - internal hex bolts
The workings of an Ultimaker Original
Students at Cranleigh school working on an Ultimaker Original

In The Classroom

Allowing a group of students to assemble the Ultimaker Original 3D printer is a great activity for use with a STEM Club. By building the Ultimaker the students develop a deeper understanding of the technology and are rewarded at the end of the activity with a working 3D printer.