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Education

Robox has become the leading 3D printer in schools

By | Education, News | 3 Comments
 

Blackfield Primary School

Year 6 pupils use Robox to learn about insect anatomy.

 

St Andrew's Primary School

East Ayrshire's STEM Coordinator, Martyn Hendry, takes Year 5 pupils through designing custom name tags using Autodesk's free, browser-based Tinkercad software.

 

Complexity made simple

Robox now supports both single and dual extruders with its new dual-material upgrade module, allowing even more complex geometries to be printed with ease.

 

Inspiring a new generation

A Year 4 class in Blackfield Primary School uses Tinkercad and Robox to create stationery organisers for a school project.

 

Mendip Studio School

Year 11 students discuss their GCSE projects.

 

Ashlyns School

A student upgrades his AS-Level project with Robox.

 

Safety and Quality

The interlocking safety door prevents accidental injury and maintains a stable printing environment.

 

FAWE School, Rwanda

Students from Writhlington School provide 3D printer workshops to Rwandan students.

Robox began to make real inroads into key markets last year following the success of our Kickstarter campaign. The desktop 3D printer market has grown strongly and matured since the first commercial Robox units went on sale in December 2014 and I’d like to share some of the valuable insights we’ve gained into how 3D printers are being used today. This is the first in a series of blog posts I’ll be writing on the subject and my inaugural post will be focusing on the education sector.

As CEL’s Robox sales manager, I can be found either in our head office near Bristol, which is packed full of 3D printers and some of the latest Robox tech being developed by our R&D team, or travelling the country supporting our resellers and their customers. As 2015 progressed, I found myself visiting schools using Robox more and more frequently, talking to teachers and students about 3D printers and learning about the innovative ways many schools use Robox in the classroom.

Robox’s success in the education sector follows two projects in recent years funded by the Department for Education (DfE) to identify good uses for 3D printers in schools. In 2012-13, 21 schools were asked to explore innovative ways of using the technology to help with teaching complex scientific and mathematical ideas. Feedback from this project confirmed that 3D printers have significant potential as a teaching resource and, as a result, the DfE funded a more detailed project in 2014-15 exploring how 3D printers can be used to enhance science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teaching. While still highly encouraging, the results of this more in-depth study highlighted the degree to which positive impact on pupil engagement and understanding relies on 3D printers being used in lessons in effective and meaningful ways.

3D printers are almost exclusively used in design & technology (D&T) departments in secondary schools because they’re naturally a great fit for the subject, helping to break down barriers between designing and manufacturing, inspire young people to invent and think creatively. Although there will be opportunities in the future for 3D printers to be used in other departments such as geography and history – to create 3D maps and recreate historical artefacts, for example – the benefits of the technology are seen most acutely in classrooms with D&T teachers that are confident using new technology and combine elements of science, technology, engineering and maths in their lessons.

We work with the James Dyson Foundation to promote STEM in schools and our partner schools have done an excellent job integrating Robox into their curricula to enhance teaching in these subjects. They increasingly see Robox not only as a valuable learning tool, but as a means of exciting students and engaging them more effectively with STEM subjects.

The new National Curriculum for D&T, which has been updated for first teaching in 2017, places a strong emphasis on the use of cutting-edge equipment to inform pupils’ understanding of industry and provides ample opportunity for students to learn about 3D printing.

Part of the reason Robox is proving so successful in schools is because it’s the only desktop 3D printer with an interlocking safety door, making it the safest option for use around children. It’s also compact and a number of schools using Robox are taking advantage of its form factor to benefit from the dramatically increased capacity and speed enabled by the use of multiple units at the same time. Robox’s cost-effectiveness, both in terms of initial investment and ongoing material costs, plays a critical role in making it a feasible option for schools considering such an investment in building their 3D printing capacity.

As schools decide which technology in their classrooms to procure and how best to spend their overall budgets, the ownership costs of any new technology over its lifetime should be considered carefully. Even if a school were to use only three 3D printers (some schools are using as many as 10 Roboxes), it would stand to make significant savings with Robox to the tune of £thousands while also benefiting from the platform’s enhanced safety features, accessibility and professional quality.

3D Printer Ownership Costs in Schools

Although other 3D printers may at first glance appear to be better value for money – boasting either a lower RRP or cheaper filament – when both initial and ongoing costs are taken into account Robox always comes out on top (the chart above doesn’t even take into account that, unlike the vast majority of 3D printers, Robox doesn’t lock users into using specific consumables à la HP in the 2D printer world).

We’re really excited to be having such a positive impact in schools around the country with Robox and in partnership with the James Dyson Foundation. If you’d like to learn more about Robox or what we’re doing, or if you have any comments, please feel free to get in touch.

Note: 3D printer unit costs based on on MSRP. PLA filament costs obtained from manufacturer websites or recommended reseller websites if manufacturer does not sell directly to customers in the UK. All costs correct at time of writing on 20 April, 2016.

CEL Robox in Ashlyns School

By | Design, Education, Robox User Blog | No Comments

“Sir, is that a 3D printer?” I enquired, “Yes Al, let’s unpack it and see if we can get it working. Are you free after school?” That was the start of it. We took the Robox out of its packaging followed the quick start-up guide and 3D printed our first ever product in under an hour. The product itself was a very small pyramid from the sample files but it was a very definite, very successful start. I’m liking this already!

Like most D&T departments in state schools, the acquiring and implementation of new technologies and equipment is something that has to be carefully managed and justified in budgets. One of the first markers for whether a piece of equipment is worthwhile is the question of impact. On Open Evening Al chose to run the Robox for 4 hours producing a much larger and more complex model. The interest from prospective students, current students, parents and staff was incredible. The feedback sheets from the evening consistently noted two amazing things seen at Open Evening; the brand new sports hall and the 3D printer in D&T.

Stage one, impact, tick!

“Stage two Sir?”, “Yes Al, stage two”. Can I use it in class as a useful piece of equipment in the Product Design students’ tool box? The department already has a small laser cutter and a vinyl cutter that are used relentlessly. In order to test this out Mr Nicholson ‘gave me the keys’ to take it for a proper spin, designing and making. I’m on the AS D&T Graphic Products course and I’m at the design stage of a project to design and model an ‘outdoor’ classroom to be set in the school grounds. I downloaded a free copy of Autodesk-123D and set about the scale model. The bed of the Robox is about A5 and my card model was considerably bigger. The 3D print would be too small if I made it fit the bed so I chose to use the 100mm Z axis and the A5 bed as a start point. I split the model into 8 pieces, 6 of which were doubles (keeping the design modular really helps when you’re using CAM!). I ran the Robox all day and overnight, carefully removing the pieces from the machine’s bed. I used a 10% infill for the blocks so that they would be rigid but not use up too much of the PLA filament. I could stick them together to form the completed model but it’s more useful at the moment for me to have them in smaller blocks so that they fit in my school bag!

I’m not used to D&T being quite this straightforward!

At the point where a number of schools were considering the future of their D&T departments, for financial reasons, Ashlyns were determined to keep the breadth of curriculum and the enrichment that D&T offers. The subject was allied into a Faculty structure with Computer Science and Business Studies. The cross-linking between these three quite different subjects is growing by the day and at its heart is creativity and enterprise, ably assisted of course by control technology, software and CAM. The Faculty’s results have gone from strength to strength as the interest builds and the ‘newer’ technologies are introduced and take their place alongside the traditional. I use the word ‘alongside’ for various reasons. Can I afford a whole class of 3D printers? Would I want to? The answer to both is no. Firstly, I could have bought 10 Robox machines for the price I paid for the laser cutter but then students make so much use of the laser cutter, so quickly and with such a variety of materials. Secondly, every new piece of technology adds another dimension to the subject and doesn’t need to replace anything, older methods often employ a more appropriate level of technology.

However, ask me the question “Would I like more Robox machines in my classrooms?” the answer would be 100% “Yes!”

Most D&T A’ Level courses still have a 50% restriction on how much of the final work can be manufactured using CAD/CAM. Possibly to make sure that traditional skills are still developed or to enable a more level playing field for students from different socio-economic backgrounds, the restrictions are there and may well still be there after the introduction of the new specifications. Has that stopped us from using other forms of CAD/CAM in the past? Of course not, life without the laser cutter doesn’t bear thinking about and as the necessity to increase the students’ exposure to newer technologies for example through the NC 2014 it will need to become part and parcel of what we do. With the NC 2014 in mind, the opportunities to develop some designs based on biomimicry is next on my list!

Before getting the Robox I used to trot out a number of reasons why the department wouldn’t need a 3D printer, mainly based around speed, size restriction, cost but the truth is that you just need to be a bit creative with how it gets used and as always the D&T community is full of ideas and ways forward. The following are a few that have sprung to mind. Firstly, everyone designs and then the class vote for which one gets made (and sometimes those still interested can come back at lunchtime or after school to get theirs made!). Secondly, smaller multiple designs that can fit on the same machine bed. Thirdly, increase the number of machines. I already have systems in place to help replace cookers and sewing machines so I just need to add them to the list and buy half-a-machine per year (or ask the school association!). Lastly, the Robox is a very portable machine and has already been at home with me.

The rapid set-up and zero clamping means that the files just need to be left to get on with manufacturing!

It has to be said that the efficiency of the material consumed is financially useful and the outcomes even on draft resolution are easily enough to portray the detail required. With new materials coming online, that go beyond the already available plethora of colours, such as rubber and dissolvable media, the future is brightly coloured and very flexible!

Ashlyns_school_logoMark Nicholson and Al Cox
Ashlyns School
Berkhamsted

CEL Robox in Blackfield Primary School

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“We’ve been using our CEL Robox for about a month now and in that short space of time children as young as 8 have been able to design, create and print 3D models from their own imaginations. The AutoMaker software supplied with the printer is clear and simple to operate with the time of print, price and weight a fantastic feature for education settings. The children have got to grips with it so quickly and can now work independently on their designs. All of this combined with hardware that’s incredibly safe and user-friendly to operate, the CEL Robox is exactly what our academy needs to take our Design and Technology to the next level.”

Blackfield Fawley United AcademyJosh Rigby
Year 6 Teacher and Design and Technology Lead
Inspire Learning Federation

 

 

Congratulations to Aurora – ESERO UK CanSat Team 2016

By | Competitions, Design, Education, Robox User Blog, Stuff and Things | No Comments

Congratulations to the Aurora team for 2nd place with a very ambitious (and successful) design which went way beyond the requirements set for the challenge. The team, consisting of 4 students aged 17 (S6), used a huge range of skills to design and develop their competition entry with prototypes and the final design printed on their Robox 3D printer.

cansat

Some details about the team from their excellent website www.aurorasat.space

Who are we?
We are a CanSat 2016 team from Glasgow, Scotland. The team consists of four pupils from Hutchesons’ Grammar School. Our supervising teacher is Dr Walker, and our sponsors are Pulsion Technology and CEL Robox.

What is CanSat?
A CanSat is a simulation of a real satellite, integrated within the volume and shape of a soft drink can. The challenge for the students is to fit all the major subsystems found in a satellite, such as power, sensors and a communication system, into this minimal volume. The CanSat is then launched to an altitude of a few hundred metres by a rocket or dropped from a platform or captive balloon and its mission begins: to carry out a scientific experiment and achieve a safe landing.

Why do it?
CanSats offer a unique opportunity for students to have a first practical experience of a real space project. They are responsible for all aspects: selecting the mission objectives, designing the CanSat, integrating the components, testing, preparing for launch and then analysing the data.

Team

Rishabh Manjunatha
Team Leader
Electronics Engineer

Cheryl Docherty
Mechanical Engineer
Design Engineer

Jack Leslie
Software Engineer
Online Administrator

Wan-Ian Tran
Mechanical Engineer
Aeronautical Engineer

Guidance from
Dr Walker
Mr Walker
Mr McCormick

Primary Mission

Measure air pressure and temperature. Minimum 1 result per second transmitted to ground control/computer.

Secondary Mission

• Our can will split into two parts, and will land in two different areas on the ground.

• The can will split horizontally; the top part will land using a parafoil to glide to the ground, and the bottom part will land using a quadcopter-like motor/propeller system to navigate to the ground.

• The aim of the mission is to successfully demonstrate the splitting of the can, demonstrate two different landing systems and demonstrate the prospect of comparing two separate sites on one mission.

Optional – Targeted landing to both sites using high accuracy GPS and autonomous movement.
Optional – Rover on ground to pick up two capsules and return them to team base.
Optional – Implement camera to capture splitting of cans.

Challenges overcome:

Small space to fit 2 satellites. Designing a modular system to access parts easily and still retain a strong structure was challenging.
New pyboard with very little online guidance or information, we had to program and wire everything based on our own knowledge.
Brushless motors and ESC’s are fiddly to set up and get going.
Designing and constructing a stable Para-foil.
Programming in a new language and programming electronics and understanding how they function together.
Learning how to use inventor and rendering the simulations of the satellite.
Using a 3D printer, learning how different plastics behave and how best to print small scale intricate models.

CAD software used:

Autodesk Inventor Professional 2016
AutoCAD 2016

Other software / programming tools used:

Python IDE
Arduino IDE
Command Line Tools

Robox made the following possible:

Printing of our satellite using ABS and PLA plastic. The Robox support team helped us to with recommendations and settings to ensure each part was accurately printed.

Other resources used:

Technology department supplied the majority of the equipment used, including soldering irons, hobby drills, glue guns, desktops.
Our other sponsor Pulsion supplied us with the £500 budget we had to stick to.
Physics department supplied digital callipers and high accuracy balances.

The Robox 3D printer we have was purchased by 3 of our Arkwright Scholars and is kept in the Technology department for students to use on request.
The Scalextrics club, which is aimed at younger years, design and build model rc cars. They have already printed one model.
The Formula 1 club also uses the 3D printer.

The printer will be used for further competitions. (possibly the Google science fair or other independent projects)

A link to the competition website:

https://www.stem.org.uk/esero/cansat
http://www.aurorasat.space/

A note from the team leader:

I would like to thank you once again for not only sponsoring us and helping us when we had problems using the 3D printer but also for your kind words throughout. You have motivated us and kept us going when certain aspects of our project didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to. Your quick and informative responses have aided us greatly. – Rishabh

BBC micro:bit CAD Resources – Kitronik University

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An excellent resource and introduction to the BBC micro:bit by our partners Kitronik

See the article here: https://www.kitronik.co.uk/blog/bbc-microbit-cad-resources/

kitronik_microbit_logo_870

This Kitronik University resource is part of the BBC micro:bit partnership and features FREE downloadable CAD files in relation to the BBC micro:bit. These downloadable files are available in three different formats and have been made using Autodesk’s Inventor Professional.

Microbit-GIF-870-pix

The BBC micro:bit CAD Files

The team here at Kitronik have created a CAD model of the BBC micro:bit. We will be using this model to produce many of the resources we will be creating for the BBC micro:bit. We’re sure these models will be useful for lots of applications so we are making them available completely free of charge, as we feel this maintains the spirit of what the BBC are trying to achieve with the BBC micro:bit project.

Students and teachers (and home users) alike are sure to find them a fantastic starting point for projects based around the BBB micro:bit.

The files are available in the following formats (see bottom of page for download links):

  • .iam (Autodesk Inventor)
  • .stl (which can be used in most CAD programs and for 3D printers)
  • .sat

This render was created using Autodesk Inventor Professional and shows the kind of images the files could be used to create.

bbc_microbit_render_on_table_870

Autodesk – FREE Educational Design Software

Clearly to use these files you will need some CAD software. Autodesk provide their professional software free of charge to Education and Home user which makes it an ideal choice.

Autodesk gave the following reason for providing such easy access to it’s products:

‘Closing the skills gap starts in education. Autodesk are tackling this by providing schools with common access to the same advanced technology being used by industry professionals today. Autodesk provides schools, students and teachers with free access to its professional 3D design software. This will enable educators to introduce design thinking into our classrooms allowing students to imagine, design and create a better world. Using these tools to learn how to solve real-world challenges in new creative ways will be the perfect preparation for our the next-generation workforce. Equipping them with 21st century skills to meet industry demands and advance economies worldwide.’

You can get a number of Autodesk software products for free, for both educational institutions and home use, check here for more information.

bbc_microbit_render_stack_870

bbc_microbit_render_front_back_870

The above images are renders of the CAD files using Autodesk 3DS Max and Autodesk 360

How Kitronik Are Using The Design

We’re using this design to create a few resources which we thought you’d find useful.

One example is this cool poster highlighting the features of the BBC micro:bit (A4 download available below):

bbc_microbit_poster_870

Another is this useful mechanical datasheet (download available below):

bbc_microbit_datasheet_screenshot

Using The Files When Creating 3D Printed Case Designs

Having the BBC micro:bit as a CAD object is incredibly useful when creating 3D printable (or laser cut-able) case designs. It means you can create your design with the knowledge that when you come to manufacturer the final design the BBC micro:bit should fit perfectly!

An example use of this would be when designing a case, like this one designed by Chris Elsworthy from CEL Robox to create this great 3D printed case design.

bbc_microbit_3d_printed_case_870

Having the renders available makes this job much easier, and ensures an accurate result. We will also be using the files in our own models and case designs.

Downloads

You can see the full BBC micro:bit – Kitronik University Course here.

CASE STUDY: 3D PRINTWORLD

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Today we’ve been talking to Allen Cosby from 3D Printworld, one of our Affiliated Resellers and earliest advocates of the Robox 3D printer.  3D Printworld specialise in selling within the 3D printing arena, but are also focussed on educating interested people on the benefits of the technology, and as such host regular workshops in Milton Keynes which allow people to gain a better understanding of additive manufacturing.

The next seminar will be held Saturday 6th June at 9.30am at the Harben Conference Centre, Newport Pagnell, Milton Keynes.  If you are interested in attending the workshop, click here to find out more and register – http://www.3d-printworld.co.uk/events

Tell us about 3DPrintworld – when did you set up the company and why?

The background to 3D Printworld is rooted in our technology and engineering consultancy. Since 2007 we have been managing complex development projects for a range clients in the public and private sector.  Over recent years we have seen our clients increasingly use additive manufacturing (3D Printing) to help with rapid prototyping and overcome other production and manufacturing challenges. Having become increasingly involved with these projects it quickly became apparent to us that additive manufacturing and ‘3D Printing’ was an exciting, fast moving and dynamic technology, and something we wanted to be involved in.

In addition to working with our commercial clients we also started to become ‘makers’ ourselves, experimenting with our own desktop 3D Printers to really get a feel for the technology.  From this passion 3D Printworld was born in 2013.

What are you trying to achieve as a reseller within the 3D printing arena? 

We really want to add value.  Anyone can go online and buy themselves a 3D Printer. We want to be a supplier with a human face, focusing on our local region to help guide companies and individuals through the confusing minefield that purchasing a 3D Printer can sometimes seem. We want them to end up with a product that is right for them, and add value by supporting them with training, guidance and maintenance services.  As well as selling 3D Printers to the local area, we are able to offer online support too for those customers who buy directly from www.3d-printworld.co.uk

 How many 3D printers do you currently have in your repertoire?

At the moment we have 2, we sell both the Robox and the Ultimaker. We are currently looking at launching other brands / ranges, but we want to keep it to a maximum of 3 or 4 brands. This is because we want to build a close working relationship with all of our suppliers, to make sure we understand the products and can really add the value to our customers with our tailored training and support.

How does the Robox fit into your repertoire of 3D printers – how is it different?

The Robox is our ‘go to’ printer. It combines a high spec and a range of unique features, with usability that caters for all levels of proficiency. It a good looking product and is built to a high standard so it’s a printer we are happy to be associated with. Another key point is the fact that the Robox is designed in the UK. The UK has always produced some of the world’s best Engineers and Product Designers.  Chris and his team at Robox have carried on that tradition, and we are keen to support that, as are many of our customers who react extremely positively when they find out that it’s a UK design.

In addition to your affiliated reseller status, you are also a little different to other resellers because you also run seminars about 3D printing, tell us why you started running these seminars?

We think that the levels of interest in 3D Printing are so high at the moment because the possibilities really fire people’s imagination. Whenever we demonstrate one of our printers all kinds of passers-by are immediately drawn to it. They find watching the process fascinating and are always keen to find out more about how it works and what it can do.  We wanted to give as many people as possible the chance to see 3D Printers in actions and learn about the possibilities they offer. So many people see 3D Printing in the press and on television, but feel it is not accessible to them.  We decided to stage these free events to allow people to engage with us, and come along in a no pressure environment to learn more. So far the response has been outstanding.

When and where is your next seminar going to be held, and how to visitors attend?

The next event will be staged in Milton Keynes on Saturday 6th June, from 9.30am.  You can find out more and register to attend by visiting www.3d-printworld.co.uk/events.

What will people learn about if they attend your next seminar?

The lecture will cover:

  • How does 3D Printing work and what are the different methods
  • How is 3D Printing used today and what is the potential use for the future
  • How the technology has become accessible through the introduction of ‘Prosumer’ desktop 3D Printing
  • A demonstration of the process: 3D Design to slicing in Automaker, then printing on a Robox.
  • Types of desktop 3D Printing – Which printer for which application?
  • Open discussions – How could you use this technology at home, at work or in the classroom.

What type of people usually attend your seminars – are they usually full of geeks and nerds (?!), or are you appealing to everyone, regardless of age and knowledge base?

We have a very diverse mixture of people who attend our lectures.  At our last event we had teachers and students, engineers, artists and designers.  They ranged from the enthusiasts who were building their own 3D Printers at home to those who had heard about it in the press or from their children, they were simply curious and wanted to learn more about this exciting technology.

 At the seminars, what are some of the strangest questions you have been asked?

We had quite a few innovative ideas such as tactile boards for those with visual impairment, and archaeological artefacts. I think the strangest thing I have been asked is if the printer can print oversize celebrity heads for a white collar boxing match!

 Have you had anyone attending your seminars who already own 3D printers?  If so, what are they printing?

We have had a few people who had made them out of kits, and they were very impressed by the Robox. One of these home makers was currently in the process of printing a second 3D printer for his wife.  He brought the printer along to the event so that was interesting to see!

Have you seen a shift in the types of people wanting to purchase a 3D printer over the past 12 months?

We are definitely seeing a bigger pickup from organisations rather than individuals. Educational establishments and SME’s are realising that they must embrace the technology or risk being left behind. I also think more people are seeing the value of buying a high quality product like the Robox that prints ‘out of the box’, rather than risking building their own from a kit.

What would be your one piece of advice to anyone considering buying a 3D printer?

Our best bit of advice would be to really think about how you are going to use your printer and what you need it to do for you or your business. It’s easy to be seduced by a cool brand or by a particular feature, but think about what your printed models need to do and choose your printer from there. And of course, seek advice from the experts if needed to help you make the most of all the information about the current 3D Printers and market.

To get in touch with the 3DPrintworld team:

Tel: 07815 108233

Email: info@3d-Printworld.co.uk

Web: www.3d-printworld.co.uk

8 Pyms Stables
Milton Keynes
MK16 0FG
England

3D printing, education and families – a 3dprintingindustry.com interview with Chris Elsworthy, designer of Robox

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A very nice interview and article by Davide Sher from 3Dprintingindustry.com

Chris talks about 3D printers in education and getting some value from “screen time” which accounts for a long periods of spare time for many children, typically in games. Chris suggests that more of this time could be spent learning the skills they will use in later life and 3D printers can be a link between the virtual creations of our children and reality. This is certainly evident in the new offering from the Tinkercad folk in Tinkerplay which is aimed directly at getting children into design by making it really fun.

Read more from Davide  in the link below
http://3dprintingindustry.com/2015/03/24/roboxs-ceo-chris-elsworthy-says-time-mass-3d-printing-now/