How did your 3D Printing journey start?

I started 3D printing 8 years ago when I was fortunate enough to receive funding to purchase a U-Print 3D printer. Once students saw this ‘large microwave’ working, they wanted to do their projects on it immediately as it was new technology they had never used before. I incorporated 3D printing into our KS4/5 projects and student outcomes from using the 3D printer were simply stunning. It made the impossible, possible with regards to designs and shapes we could have never made using conventional methods of manufacture. I made sure to develop the 3D CAD learning resources to make sure students designed certain parts that could only be made on a 3D printer. When I started with UTC Leeds, 3D printing was always going to be made a priority due to our specialism in engineering and advanced manufacturing. To go from one 3D printer to having 10 was an amazing yet welcome leap due to the variety of projects students could be involved in.

How many 3D Printers do you have at the school?

We currently have 8 Ultimaker 2+ and 2 Ultimaker 2+ Extended 3D printers at present but next year we intend to add to our collection with the new Ultimaker 3.

Are these all located together in one space?

The 3D printers are housed in two locations, 4 in the Product Design workshop and a further 6 n the Advanced Manufacturing room. The advanced manufacturing room has 3- CNC machines for training students as well as Industry standard CNC machines to train our students in subtractive manufacturing.
With continuing and rapid advances in 3D printing technology and material science, UTC Leeds will continue to add more 3D printers in the Advanced Manufacturing room. We will teach our students about the additive manufacturing world and how it will impact on their future careers in engineering and advanced manufacturing as well as having fun using the machines!

What is the age range of your pupils?

Students at UTC Leeds range from the age of 14-19.

What subject areas do you use the technology in?

We use the Ultimakers in every area possible from Product Design at both GCSE and A level to Engineering at Level 2 and Level 3. We also use them during our up-skilling training in conjunction with Autodesk Fusion 360 as we are an educational partner. To create a 3D CAD model in Fusion 360 and then see the physical product within 24 hours depending on the complexity has a real impact on students understanding of how assemblies of parts come together.

How has using the Ultimaker printers impacted your results and learning outcomes?

UTC Leeds has only just opened, but students from all years are very keen to get their hands on the 3D printers and learn how to use them. The 3D printing student expert network we have set up at UTC Leeds enables the 3D printers to be used for the creation of resources in lessons. So, rather than seeing/using images of gears, race car steering wheels etc the student expert network 3D print these resources so they can physically handle them. This has a huge impact on areas such as aesthetics, ergonomics, manufacturing processes and the physical size of the products. It comes back to the quote by Benjamin Franklin – “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

Do the Ultimaker printers make any real difference as opposed to other brands of 3D Printers you may have used?

The Ultimaker printers are easy to set up and use giving high quality prints on a regular basis in a time frame that is fairly quick. The range of colours and material options available from various sources enable a range of objects to be printed giving different outcomes that’s students enjoy.

What type of projects have you worked on?

We have a number of projects we are currently working on including?

• Enable the future – Prosthetic limbs for people around the world where we are paired up with an amputee and custom print them a fully working mechanical prosthetic.
• InMoov robot / Vex robotics – We are currently 3D printing the head of the InMoov robot as we have Vex IQ robots and intend to use the brain to help control the robot head movements.
• We are also working on the greenpower challenge 3D printing the steering wheels for our teams.
• In 2017, we aim to work on the Quadbot project.

Do you get other schools involved in any activities?

This is an area we will develop and implement in 2017 as we are an Autodesk Education hub and will run training courses in Fusion 360 and then 3D print the designs using the Ultimaker 3D printers.

Do you allow your feeder schools access to the printers?

We have had primary schools come to visit us already and this is an area we will develop and implement in 2017 to include Autodesk 3D CAD training and using the Ultimaker 3D printers to print their designs.


Are there any out of school or after school 3D Printing activities?

Our school day runs from 08.45am until 5pm so we do not run after school activities as we build this into our extended day.

What was it about the CREATE Education Project that inspired you to become a CREATE Education Hub?

To be part of a community that wants to promote the use of 3D printers in technical education, to inspire students at UTC Leeds by seeing other projects on the CREATE Education website and share experiences.

What qualities are needed in a Hub Leader?

To be inspirational, enthusiastic, technically competent and passionate about 3D printing in order to capture students’ imagination and send them on their own 3D printing journey of discovery.

How did you go about persuading the school to support you in terms of budget and investment?

UTC Leeds actively encouraged the purchase of 3D printers from the start to tie in with our advanced manufacturing speciality. I am looking to purchase more 3D printers in 2017 to update our students’ skills and range of 3D printing types.

How has our CREATE Education Project supported you so far on the journey?

The project has been an inspiration due to the range of projects showcased on the site, this motivates myself to push the boundaries with our students in terms of their designing and use of 3D printing to realise their visions.


What could we do better to support and/or promote you as a Hub?

What you have done so far has been superb, the website is regularly updated with new and interesting projects for students at UTC Leeds to look at and explore. Having our information and projects on your website will help us to promote the hub. Also, to see primary link 3D printing projects would help.

Anything else you would like to share?

The pictures below show a very special journey for one of our year 12 female student’s at UTC Leeds that I trained in both Autodesk Fusion 360, Cura and the Ultimaker 2+ 3D Printers. She came to us in September as we opened from a technology background of textiles and liked the UTC ethos so decided to join us. She had never used 3D CAD before or a 3D printer yet has used the above mentioned pieces of kit / software to design and build her own 3D Printed Tricopter drone for her EPQ. As a result of using this equipment, she has now changed her career course from a degree in one of the Sciences to a degree in Engineering as she has enjoyed the challenge of using the equipment and software so much.


At UTC Leeds we specialise in advanced manufacturing and engineering. Both these areas are and will continue to be influenced heavily by 3D printing. Being part of the CREATE Education project enables myself and students at UTC Leeds to promote this form of manufacture to other schools who may not be able to afford such equipment. This helps not only UTC Leeds itself by showcasing how we embrace new technologies, but enables our student experts to become role models and mentors to younger members within our local education area.

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