Gareth Dyer, Computing Lead from Hempland Primary School, is a CREATE Education Ambassador. Integrating UltiMaker 3D Printers into his school has revolutionised the Design and Technology & ICT Curriculum, as well as giving his F1 in Schools Teams a much-needed boost to send them straight into the fast lane of the competition. Read more from Gareth below.

Getting Started

CREATE Education’s Support & UltiMaker Reliability, A Perfect Combination!

We first heard about the possibility of using 3D Printing in the classroom through a course at the STEM Learning Centre. We purchased two UltiMaker 3D Printers. We decided to purchase UltiMaker the UltiMaker printers because of their accuracy, reliability, and ease of use – all perfect for the Primary Classroom!

We did this at the end of 2022, and we were blown away by not only the printer and what it offered but also the level of support from CREATE Education. Any problems, they were just an email or a phone call away. This was vital, as I had never used a 3D printer before, let alone taught with one, yet after four weeks, 120 children had all designed and printed at least two products each!

We also received CPD from a CREATE Education Ambassador. We used the CREATE Education’ 3D Printing in the Primary Curriculum’ webinar to develop our expertise and ensure that 3D Printing could be utilised throughout the school, from EYFS upwards.

This was important, as although children had used 3D design before, they could now do it with a practical purpose and begin to understand the importance of iterative design.

“Being able to provide schools with 3D Printers that are easy to use and reliable, as well as all the support they need to get started, is so important! A teacher’s time is already stretched so much, so if we can support them with webinars, resources, and more to ensure students get the career-defining skills they need, we will!”

James Bajcer, Head of Business Development, CREATE Education

Often, before 3D Printing, they can imagine things that fit the design brief but are limited by using things like dowels, tech cards, etc. – all incredibly useful but potentially constraining. Since the introduction of 3D Printing, the variation and quality of the children’s DT work have been outstanding – each product looks very different from their classmates’. The children respond well to being able to create what they can picture in their minds.

The impact on the school is broader than the curriculum. We can 3D print resources at a fraction of the cost to purchase them – a priority in most schools. Resources from book-ends to maths resources for EYFS can be created faster than getting it delivered and at a cheaper cost.

We also introduced the Make:able challenge with our older students. This fantastic project gave the children a specific audience and purpose for their product. They loved this additional dimension – meeting people who needed an entirely new device to aid them. The challenges included limited finger mobility and people needing alterations for their wheelchairs. The children engaged well with the online materials, which definitely added to the experience.

Our curriculum is forward-thinking, aspirational, and inspirational, mainly due to 3D CAD and Printing and combining this with other skills and resources, such as programming with the Crumble Controllers.

Into The Fast Lane: F1 In Schools

We started our F1 in Schools journey in the 2022-23 academic year with our Year 6 cohort.

We had five teams take part, with five children in each team. It began with an event organised for our MAT, which was a great introduction to F1 in Schools. From this, we then went to the regional finals, which was an outstanding experience for all of the children.

In 2022-2023, CREATE Education sponsored one of the teams, which greatly motivated the team. Although we were unable to use 3D Printing for the car itself due to it being Primary Class, we used the printers to create products that we could then sell, raising money for the competition. We also created a wind tunnel using the 3D printers and used them to augment the pit display.

The following year – 2023-24 – we took part again, this time with four primary teams, including a team sponsored by CREATE Education and UltiMaker. We named the team Team CREATE.

We began to use some simple Computational Fluid Dynamics this time, with the children designing cars using TinkerCAD and then running CFD software (Ansys). This was great, as it helped the children understand aerodynamics and the importance of guiding air over the car.

Team CREATE also visited the 3DGBIRE Technical Centre and was inspired by what they saw. They took part in F1-themed 3D design and 3D scanning workshops and saw the potential involved in 3D Printing.

This trip also helped them understand what it means to be an engineer – so when they returned and worked on their project, they understood the iterative process.

All four teams did exceptionally well at the regionals, including Team CREATE, who took home the ‘Sponsorship and Marketing’ award—a vital part of the process.

Following their success in the 2022-23 season, a team of 5 girls, who are now in Year 7, decided to participate in the F1 in Schools process again, this time in the Entry class, as MGLL Racing.

They were allowed to use 3D Printing in the car’s design, development, and production, and the UltiMaker was perfect for this.

“3D printers were useful because we could print things over and over again in less time. This meant we could change little things online repeatedly before we actually started the final production process” 

Isabella, Year 7 student, formally a Hempland Primary School Student.

The children were able to design their cars using Autodesk Fusion before printing many prototypes. This allowed them to easily develop their car in minute detail. It became really straightforward to design a car, print it, assemble the various pieces, and then alter the design. For example, on our first iteration, the axel holes were too small for the axel bushes, so we altered it slightly and reprinted, all for a couple of hours and a few pence.

“The use of 3D design and 3D Printing was integral to the success of the Secondary team’s F1 in Schools bid. More than this, though, is the depth of the experience that it brought the children. They were able to apply 3D design and Printing to a real-world problem that was truly inspiring, and they learned so much about engineering, CFD, manufacturing – as well as perseverance and iteration.” 

Mr Dyer, Teacher at Hempland Primary School

We will continue with this next year. Even though we have to use CNC Routing to manufacture the actual race car, we know that 3D printers will play a core part of our car development.

Again, the team performed really well—this time, winning the Regional competition and the “Best Engineered Car”—largely due to their ability to repeatedly and consistently print and improve prototypes. Although their car wasn’t the fastest, they were able to demonstrate to the judges the journey that it had been on due to 3D Printing, and this had a huge impact on their competition.