Hands-on with Autodesk Fusion 360 and 3D printing with Atherton Community School

As part of a university widening participation initiative, PrintCity welcomed pupils from Atherton Community School to spend a day learning about computer-aided-design and additive manufacturing.

When you print a document on a normal paper printer, this is the end of work that was started much earlier. The printer prints what you send to it but the vast majority of the actual work is done in a word processor. The term WYSIWYG means ‘What You See Is What You Get’ and is synonymous with word processing, especially in its early days. It simply meant that what appeared on the screen translated exactly to print. The pupils were taught that it’s exactly the same with 3D printing: the printing part of the process only follows extensive work and refinement in CAD software. If you produce a good model, this will produce a good 3D printed model.

The day begins with a tour of the 65 printers currently in use at PrintCity, led by Technical Officer Gary Buller who explained current 3D printing technologies and materials. The main part of the day was led by Peter Gough who encouraged a very hands-on ‘do to learn’ approach. Over the course of the morning, the pupils created a two-component 3D model from scratch using Autodesk Fusion 360, learning and applying new CAD skills before breaking for lunch.

After lunch, the workshop continued with a focus on materials and decals then composition and rendering scenes in the cloud using custom HDR images, they produced some excellent work. Following this, the 13 pupils modelled and customized a phone stand which was then taken into Ultimaker Cura software to prepare (or ‘slice’) for 3D printing.

The final part of the day was the ever-popular ‘Design Slam’ which pitted pupils against each other and against the clock to produce a 3D model on a theme, using the skills they had learned over the course of the day. MMU Student Ambassadors who are all students on the MSc Industrial Digitalisation course judged the completed designs and three were selected to receive book prizes of ‘Autodesk Fusion 360 Basics Tutorial’ to encourage them to continue their journey’s in CAD once back at home and school.

To put everything into context, PrintCity 3D printed the personalized phone stands and will send them onto the school once they’re completed. 

Hands-on with Autodesk Fusion 360 and 3D printing with Atherton Community School
The three winning pupils from Atherton Community School (centre), together with MMU student ambassadors Renia Gkountiou, Amish Jani, Derek Lam and Madelane Daz
Hands-on with Autodesk Fusion 360 and 3D printing with Atherton Community School - The PrintCity Blog - Manchester Metropolitan University

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