Build-a-Bear 2.0: PrintCity host Ingenious Outreach event with Alder Community High School

After a successful visit from Alder Community High School in April, they returned for another visit with their year 9 students. As student ambassadors, we played a more active role by introducing the students to PrintCity with a tour around the main facility. With the interactive tour, the pupils discovered the potential of the 3D printing by looking at a diverse selection of products printed in various materials ranging from wood to concrete. We did this to get the pupils thinking like a designer, and for them to understand the uses of 3D printing in everyday life. 

In addition to today’s session, we had special guests, Dr Silvia Tedesco , a Senior Lecturer within MMU who showed the us the capabilities of 3D printing in Medical ,engineering, prototyping, construction and such. Joining her from Newcastle University was Dr Marloes Peeters. Their take home message was the ways that we can reduce our waste with by having a Circular Economy, where people would buy recycled and re-use items as much as possible. 

As always, we teach the pupils how to use basic modelling tools in Autodesk Fusion 360 using a water flask tutorial. The reason we choose a flask is because of its design simplicity, but the high number of learning outcomes obtained using various tools. This helps provide the pupils with a strong foundation to start their CAD journeys.  

As part of the second session, we helped them to model a fidget toy with 2 spur gears. However, for today’s session, we thought we would have them model a bear with 3 spur gears. The pupils decided as group to name it “Bailey Bear”. The point of this activity was to get the students to start to think about the motion links in joints and gears. 

For the Design Slam, every person went full steam ahead, racing to make their own liquid holder. Some ideas needed encouragement, but once they got an idea of the kind of things they wanted to make, the ideas were free-flowing. The pupils were conscious of the 30 minute time limit so they called on us ambassadors when they could not figure out how to use certain modelling skills. However it was really great to see pupils utilise what they had learnt earlier on in the day when they designed their own water bottles.   

The winners of the Design Slam were two very unique design . Bailey with his football shoe/drinking cup and Leo with his 3-part design (which allows the user to insert a full can into the flask or a liquid depending on the situation) .  

The student ambassadors received a lot of great feedback from the pupils as this was the first time the majority of them had ever seen or used CAD software, with a couple of students potentially changing their minds about the direction of future and possible attending university now .

Photos of the event will appear here soon

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