The Bloodhound Race for the Line School STEM competition is just entering Season 3. In this national competition, teams of Year 7 students are tasked with designing, making and racing a rocket powered car using a BBC micro:bit to create a timing gate to measure the rocket car’s performance. Teams will competing against each other in school, with the winners from the school heats going forward into the regional and then national race days.

The rocket car body is made from a standard piece of foam and in the past the design of the rocket car focussed entirely on shaping and finishing the foam. In this season however there have been some changes and students now have the option to design and make the car’s wheels and axles. This provides many more opportunities for students to explore and experience the science and engineering aspects of the car design.

3D Printed Wheels Trial

At the end of the summer term, a group of students from the Engineering Club at CREATE Hub Broughton High School were involved in trailing the design and 3D printing of wheels as a potential manufacturing method for other schools to utilise during the competition.

Over the course of two after school sessions the students were tasked with designing and 3D printing wheels for a Rocket Car. In the first session students were introduced to the project and then started 3D modelling their wheel designs using Autodesk Inventor. By the end of the first session, many students had completed an initial 3D model design. These were 3D printed during the week ready to inspect in the second session.

During the second session, 3D printed models were inspected, discussed and students revisited their initial designs to add improvements to them, some students even produced completely new designs.

The Race for the Line team were impressed with the outcomes of this trial both in terms of the speed of design and production and the student outcomes allowing for aerodynamic and lightweight designs to be achieved with relative ease. Following the successful trial, 3D printing has been included as an optional method for manufacturing wheels in Season 3 of the Race for the Line Competition.

The CREATE Education Project and the Race for the Line Team would like to thank Matthew Lowe, Design Technology Teacher and students from the Engineering Club at Broughton High School for participating in this trial.

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