ACS Egham School
A British school is pioneering 3D printing in schools thanks to 3D printing industry giant Stratasys.
ACS Egham International School in Surrey is championing the technology developed by the leading 3D printer and production systems manufacturer in UK schools, potentially blazing a trail for other institutions.
The college's forward-thinking Design and Technology department installed a Stratasys Objet24 3D printer in summer 2012 and since then three members of staff, Mr Belcher, Mr Spicer and Mr Weatherley, have been learning how to use the equipment.
Since getting to know the 3D printing ropes, the inspirational teachers have been making 3D printing available to classes across the Middle School and High School, getting kids aged between 11 and 18 involved in the technique.
Mr Belcher stated: "We want to open up the world of rapid prototyping to as many students as possible. The Objet24 is ideal for design students looking to produce highly accurate 3D printed models for visual aids, fit and assembly testing, and functional applications."
The 3D printer was first used by children in Year Nine, or US Grade Eight, to design and print components for a robotic design assignment.
Mr Belcher has been very enthusiastic about how the technology has enhanced the children's learning experiences.
"Having a 3D printer in the school is fantastic for projects like these because the children can let their imaginations run free in their designs. They're not confined by difficulties with production, whatever geometry they can come up with in their design can be reproduced with 3D printing, and we can see if the design works in the real world," he remarked.
Year Ten (US Grade Nine) students at ACS Egham International School have created 3D printed moulds and positive objects for jewelry design projects, and also highly detailed pieces for board games.
"[The] models produced by the Objet24 are very versatile. They can be painted, drilled, machined, or used as moulds for vacuum forming and casting, so we're using it on a very wide variety of projects," Mr Belcher explained.
"Printing to an accuracy of 0.1 mm, the Objet24 provides the high level of detail and precision required for this sort of work and the students get hands-on experience of why this is important and what the issues could be around both the design and manufacturing process. So it's practical, educational, and the kids enjoy using it too."
The Objet24 3D Printer also features in the popular and expanding Design Technology International Baccalaureate Diploma course, where students focus on the use of CAD software and CAM equipment to produce excellent functioning prototypes.
ACS Egham purchased the Stratasys Objet24 through UK distributor Tri-Tech3D.
Tim Smith, Sales Manager at Tri-Tech, said: "It's fantastic to see the depth and breadth of the 3D printing projects at Egham school. The students really seem to be getting the most out of the fine detail, accuracy and versatility of the models printing with the Objet24 3D Printer."