College students making the most of new 3D printer

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Each year we get invited to a raft of design and engineering degree shows at various universities and have a good nose around the New Designers show which we exhibit at (our coverage of our top picks will begin this week).

However, we rarely tend to go to school or college shows, but a few weeks back I was invited to Warwickshire College’s 3D Design Students Exhibition and was really impressed by the students’ work.

Dave Hardcastle, course leader of 3D Design at Warwickshire College, had attended D3D Live back in April with a few of his students.
They were particularly interested in Al’s 3D printing talk with the college having recently invested in a 3D printer – Bits from Bytes 3D Touch – which has been in constant use since December especially to produce the student’s models for their end of year show.

“The Extended Diploma in 3D Design course at Warwickshire College has for many years produced creative students who present their designs as illustrated CAD renderings and as traditional workshop produced models and prototypes.

The 3D Touch printer has enabled students to bridge this gap between the virtual design world and the physical workshop by combining the CAD models (Lightwave3D) with the production of a 3D model,” says Hardcastle.

“Many of the prints have given students the opportunity to produce complex models and designs that would have been difficult or impossible to produce using traditional processes.”

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The stand out design for me was a Portable Charging Station by Luca Frondella (above) who is going on to study Product Design at Coventry University after the summer.

Nearby prototyping and machining company HPL Prototypes were also impressed with Frondella’s model and awarded him first prize in the HPL-Prototype Award, which was chosen by the company’s managing director Paul Fieldhouse for its blend of design and model-making skills.

The second prize went to Jamie Perason for his yacht model (below).

The college has a relationship with HPL prototypes in that the company approached the 3D Design course for a likely candidate for its modelling studios to work as a design apprentice.

The student – Costantinos Fowers – has been at HPL for nearly a year and is on ‘day release’ at the college as part of his apprenticeship programme although spends most of his time at HPL.

During my visit I was also interested to note that the course has established the ‘Learning Company‘, a design and manufacturing consultancy as well as a ‘print bureau’ for both college and commercial clients.

“The 3D Learning Company was established to create links to industry and print clients, and to give students industrial and commercial experiences – all facilitated by the 3D printer and laser cutter,” says Hardcastle.

I’ve been around my fair share of student design exhibitions and I must say I was really impressed by the work on display especially as these are pre-University students.

It’s great to see them utilising and experimenting with these different technologies, which they’ll no doubt encounter during their further study and workplaces.


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