Dr Brown approached David Evans at CEMAST (Centre of Excellence in Manufacture and Advanced Skills Training) at Fareham College after hearing about them online through our Community Hub section on the CREATE Education website. Her required project was a component for a life size Dalek replica.
The Dalek is used for fundraising at fetes, fayres, schools and clubs across the south. Monies are raised for a number of worthy charitable causes, the Dalek is planned/booked to support these open days and other similar events. This is all done by Dr Brown who doesn’t charge for her time and efforts in order to optimise funds raised at these events.
“The light fitting (ear) was a component that kept breaking so the design and the manufacture needed to be reviewed in order to keep the Dalek running and generate more much needed money.
All spares were used up and the Dalek was in danger of becoming non-serviceable.”
Local engineering companies were approached to make the light fitting using conventional manufacturing techniques such as laser or plasma cutting, this proved very costly and the individual elements still needed drilling/tapping for component assembly.
Faced with these prohibitive costing’s and the time factors involved Dr Brown contacted us. We agreed to look into it for her as a local community gesture.
The initial manufacturing option was a sound one but it was a costly and time consuming one. We considered utilising our CNC machinery but could still not reduce costs significantly enough. We decided to employ the 3D printers rather than the more traditional route and making it all in one rather than individual pieces.
This would make it more cost effective, repeatable, sustainable and more practical for both parties (press and play on a printer and can be run overnight while I’m sleeping).
It took a deal of thought and turned out to be quite a challenge (enjoyable). After ‘some’ R+D we arrived at a design that was functional and repeatable.
“The initial design (left) based on the original component would be a problem to print without support material placed throughout.
This has caused us problems in the past, damaging the model to remove the supporting structures.”
A few more thoughts and prototypes (models in the bin) saw us come up with a working item which was tried and successfully ‘worn’ by the Dalek. It was printed ‘upside down’ utilising the bigger radii to steadily build the intrinsic supporting structure.
We used clear filament (works really well for us, better than the others) which enabled it to painted to the exact colour to suit the rest of the Dalek colour scheme.
Dr Brown was chuffed with the results and now the Dalek is back on the charity circuit earning it’s keep.
Importantly, any further components can be printed off with relatively little problem in a cost effective and sustainable manner to ensure this community feature retains it’s earning power in order to spread it’s good work.
Thanks go to David Evans at Fareham College for sharing this project.