Westholme students with the TCT 3 Sixty sign additive manufacturing show

Earlier this month, CREATE Education returned to host the Inspired Minds classroom as part of the two day TCT 3 Sixty Show held at the NEC in Birmingham.

The TCT Show is one of the world’s leading 3D printing, additive manufacturing and product development events with over 300 exhibitors from around the world. The aim of the Inspired Minds experience is to introduce students to Additive Manufacturing technology, industries, applications and potential career paths. By providing access to an event such as the TCT show it is hoped that students will be inspired to pursue a career in engineering or additive manufacturing. 

The event is not open to under 16’s which meant the chosen students from each of the 5 schools that attended our Inspired Minds classroom experience over the two days truly experienced an exclusive insight into the world of additive manufacturing and the innovative global developments taking place.

The students day comprised of 3 hour additive manufacturing and STEAM technologies experience and this year, students participated in the following activities:

  1. Inspired Minds Classroom Workshop

Students practised their Onshape skills by designing new parts for a rocket. They learnt about how 3D printing works alongside other technologies such as 3D scanning and vacuum forming

They made clay models to 3D scan and also used 3D printed moulds to vacuum form chocolate moulds that they were able to take home with them.

  1. TCT Show Tour

Students followed a self-guided tour of the TCT show, to experience the excitement of this industry, visiting different exhibitors to question them on their technology, products and career opportunities.

This also included an impromptu meeting and discussion session for one school with Ravi Toor the founder of Filamentive and the staff and students were keen to find out more about where Ravi’s ideas and how he developed the products and PLA materials that they used with their 3D printers back at school!

The schools that took part in the Inspiring Minds classroom experience and tour over the two days were:

Our Lady and St John Catholic College
Queen Elizabeth Grammar School (QEGS)
St Augustines R.C. High School
Walton – le – Dale High School
Westholme School

Many of the schools that took part in the Inspired Minds classroom, are also part of our project #InspiringLancashire in partnership with British Aerospace (BAE Systems). You can find out more about the project here.

We really enjoyed sharing our knowledge of 3D printing, 3D scanning and vacuum forming with you and progressing your understanding and techniques which we hope will develop skills for your futures.

We loved hearing about your experiences, here are some students from Westholme with their thoughts. Thank you to Grace, William and Leweys of Westholme for providing us with their insight into the day.

What we did in the workshop and what we thought of it 

In the workshop, we got to make our own models out of clay and see them become a digital file using a scanner. I found it really interesting that the scanner could piece together multiple scans to make a single model. We were also taught how to use Cura to piece together models so that a printer could use two colours or materials to make an object. It was surprisingly simple once we knew how to do it, especially since it is such a useful feature. The last thing we were shown in the workshop was a vacuum forming machine. The idea behind it being so simple just made it so much more impressive to me. The workshop was such an interesting experience and I know I will remember everything we learnt in it. 

What we thought about all the other people  

While we understood that many of those at the stalls would be preoccupied with other people who were more knowledgeable on the subject of additive manufacturing, we found many who gave us a detailed insight into the world of DMLS, FDM and SLS 3D printing. We enjoyed seeing all the advanced 3D printers on the go and trying to figure out their inner workings, with the help of people running the stalls. Particularly, we liked the 3DPRINTUK stall, since the owner, Nick Allen, gave us many useful tips on how to start our journey into 3D printing. At school, we use ultimaker FDM printers, so it was eye-opening to learn more about their designs and machines at the NEC convention. We were fascinated by the innovative ideas of 3DTomorrow to make an eco-friendly filament and many other businesses had similar new and upcoming thoughts towards additive manufacturing. 

What we learnt and what was the best bit 

We really enjoyed looking at all the businesses and seeing all of the different 3D printers printing in a range of colours, sizes and materials. We learnt a lot of things while we were there: from the workshop in the classroom learning about 3D printing and scanning, to the enriching conversations we had with businesses. Whilst walking round, we learnt how to 3D print with metals such as aluminium using DMLS and then weld them together to create things such as motorbikes. One of the best bits was being able to speak to the professionals and learn things that you just couldn’t learn otherwise as well as getting tips on how to get these sorts of jobs yourself. We all also loved all the freebies we managed to acquire and are now using them as inspiration for projects at school. 

We’re so glad that everyone enjoyed their Inspiring Minds experience at TCT 3 Sixty.

Thanks to everyone that took part and everyone that made it possible.

Don’t forget to keep an eye out as to how you can be involved in upcoming projects with CREATE Education.

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