Law of the Lever Design by Sidney Ki
Law of the Lever Design by Sidney Ki

The CREATE Education Project would like to thank David Dunlop, Subject Leader for DT at Hutton C of E Grammar School for sharing this project idea.

The project was developed for the AQA 8552 or EDEXCEL Design Technology 2017 GCSE Specifications, but it would be suitable for any of the KS4 GCSE or Scottish Higher Design Technology qualifications. This project could also be used for relevant FE courses.

The aim of the project is for students to learn some of the mathematical and scientific theory required for the new curriculum. Students will design and 3D print a test rig including a fulcrum, lever and prismatic shapes of different volumes and mass to demonstrate mechanical advantage.  The rigs will also be used to demonstrate efficiency in machines. This would lead into material selection and friction coefficients, the use of bearings and lubricants within design and assembly.

Following this students will design and make a mechanical toy.  The students will manufacture a feeding bid toy that uses a series of linkages that makes it appear to be feeding. The mouth will open as the bird leans down to feed. Thin brass rods will used as connectors on the bird and a 3D printer will be used to make bespoke fastenings on the toy.

Download the Project Guide which includes a complete overview of the project and GCSE Specification links/references.

Project Links

This Project Idea was developed by David Dunlop, Subject Leader for DT at Hutton C of E Grammar School.

The Project was developed for the AQA 8552 GCSE Design Technology or the EDEXCEL GCSE (9-1) in Design and Technology (1DT0) qualification.

Incorporating 3D Printing

The 3D printer will be used to make an accurate fulcrum for a test rig demonstrating mechanical advantage and the principles of levers.

Students need to consider material selection and understand that materials with the same volume can have different mass. (Calculating volume, mass and relating this to cost could be an exam question).  Mathematical theory, 3D CAD and the 3D printer will be used to confirm and embed these principles.  The students will design prismatic shapes, use their knowledge to calculate the mass, confirm this with the 3D CAD, then manufacture and measure the mass from the 3D printed output.

More advanced students will manufacture hollow prismatic shapes, using the same volume with different mass.  (An extension task would be to create hollow beams on the 3D printer testing these for strength tests and deflection. Wall thickness will be calculated and graphically plotted and ran as an engineering/ scientific controlled testing procedure.

About Project Ideas

Project Ideas” are a series of ideas shared by the CREATE Education Project to¬†provide inspiration and a starting point for students to develop their own projects that utilise 3D printing for prototyping and/or to enhance the final solution.

Many of the ideas shared would provide suitable starting points for students in Further or Higher Education who are undertaking their own personal projects, allowing them to adapt and extend the projects to develop new outcomes. Some of these projects could also be tackled in a similar way by high school students undertaking individual project work.

Alternatively suitable projects could be selected by teachers and assigned to teams of students in a project based learning approach. A series of editable templates and resources have been developed to support the project based learning approach. These include:

  • Project Planning Templates – A series of editable templates for course leaders or teachers to use when planning student projects.
  • Presentation Templates – A series of editable PowerPoint slides for course leaders or teachers to use for presenting project stages to groups of students.
  • Student Project Worksheets – A series of editable worksheets for individuals or groups of students to use for planning and documenting their projects.

These resources can be downloaded by clicking the links in the right column.

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