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Why Robox is making such an impact in education

By | Blog, blog2, Education, Education & CEL, Youth Program | No Comments

When I first used a 3D printer in 2005, Stratasys and 3D Systems were the only players in town and the costs of their systems were truly eye-watering. The Stratasys Dimension BST we used then cost over £19,000 and reels of filament over £200 each.

In the decade since, key 3D printing patents held by those once pioneering manufacturers have expired and the open source RepRap project has triggered a wave of desktop 3D printer innovations. The cost of 3D printing technologies has now plummeted (Robox costs less than £1,000 with reels of filament under £30 each) at the same time as we’ve seen significant advances in speed and capabilities – thanks also in part to the recent proliferation of very high quality, but totally free, 3D modelling tools. The technology has become much simpler, more affordable and therefore more accessible to everyone.

3D printers are fast becoming staples of secondary school D&T departments. Our work with the James Dyson Foundation is seeing us develop some truly exciting and innovative STEM programmes aimed at encouraging students and teachers to use 3D printers and inspiring them to think creatively about design and technology. While our work has initially focused on programmes in secondary schools, our efforts to help stimulate young people are now leading us to help develop new programmes with partner schools at even earlier stages in the education curriculum.

One exciting programme is being pioneered by Josh Rigby, D&T Leader at Blackfield Primary School, part of the Inspire Learning Federation. His Year 6 ‘Lift Off’ project is now in its second year and engages pupils to develop and build remote controlled hovercraft. They use Robox and free 3D modelling tools from Autodesk such as Tinkercad and 123D Design to customise their hovercrafts for identified target audiences.

Pupils at Blackfield Primary School use Tinkercad to create custom parts for their hovercrafts.

Another project he leads, titled ‘Dyson Design,’ engages Year 4 pupils in the design of modern desktop equipment for the classroom of the future. The project helps 8-year-old pupils get to grips with technical drawings and requires them toconsider a range of materials for their designs, which are then developed in Tinkercad.

We’re also helping to introduce 3D printing to a pioneering, ambitious education project targeting primary age children in Scotland. Martyn Hendry, STEM Co-ordinator in East Ayrshire Council, has just completed a Robox pilot programme in a number of primary schools in his authority to see how 3D printers can be introduced into the curriculum. Working with projects he’s developed to inspire creative thinking, and supported by entrepreneurs and people from industry, teachers have reported a very enthusiastic response from pupils. One school has even broadened the project to the Primary 2 year group of 6-year-olds.

Malachy Ryan, from engineering consultancy Alan White Design, demonstrates design innovations to pupils at St Andrews Primary School as part of the DYW programme.
Martyn is helping to ensure Robox plays its part in the Scottish government’s youth employment strategy, Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) – a seven-year programme that aims to better prepare children and young people from 3-18 for the world of work. The success of the Robox pilot programme and Scottish government programmes such as DYW herald the beginning of a much more ambitious rollout of 3D printers to schools and organisations in the region.

Dumfries House Education, a cluster of six bespoke training centres situated in the stunning 18th century Ayrshire Dumfries House estate, is one such organisation using Robox to help deliver experiential, hands-on activities for young people. The centres offer a selection of education and training programmes designed to support learners in Primary and Secondary education with the Engineering Education Centre’s aim being to excite young people about science and technology. Dumfries House Education grew from HRH the Prince of Wales’ desire to see young people engage in learning experiences thatpromote confidence, personal development and offer training in real life skills. Their inspirational workshops are available to schools, youth groups and local authorities in the region and Martyn is actively involved helping to integrate 3D printing into their programmes.

Robox is providing schools with a more cost-effective, straightforward option to bring 3D printing to classrooms and workshops around the UK. As a British 3D printer manufacturer making the world’s only desktop 3D printer with an interlocking safety door, we are uniquely placed to work with the James Dyson Foundation and schools across the country to help improve learning outcomes and empower teachers and schoolchildren to invent, to think creatively about design and technology and not be afraid to make mistakes. Martyn Hendry reports how 3D printers and computer-aided design (CAD) software have helped children as young as 9 understand mathematical concepts such as negative numbers: “There was just no justification for using CAD without a 3D printer. 3D printers embed the technical drawing while the teaching and learning is embedded in the use of CAD.”

For more information about what we’re doing, read a previous article here or contact me directly using the links below.

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About Grant Mackenzie

Grant is Robox Sales Manager for the EMEA region. He’s based in CEL’s UK head office. Contact Grant

CEL Robox, “a workshop in a box”

By | Blog, blog2, Education | No Comments

Dyson_Foundation_Writhlington

CEL Robox, “a workshop in a box”

By | Education | No Comments

“Robox is an amazing tool for learning. In my studies, it has allowed me to bring my ideas and concepts into the physical world. Producing something traditionally which is as complex or intricate as what can be produced using a 3D printer, would require years of training on professional tools or be impossible to be produced as a single object. This obviously would be an impossibility for a student who wants to envision their ideas into reality. As a student myself, I do not have the skills or knowledge to use high level manufacturing equipment, but have unique ideas. By removing the complexities of the production process, it allows multiple ideas to be produced with ease.

“The innovative design of the Robox 3D printer allows easy to load materials, again, reducing the complexity of the production process. Its simple UI offers ease of use to both new and experienced users with the advanced functionality. My favourite feature is the heated bed, this allows printing to start up almost immediately, and not require bed preparation; which is the case for many 3D printers.

“Robox allows people like myself, to be able to envision our ideas, and make them reality. By having physical objects, we learn from mistakes in design, and gain a more practised knowledge of design. Robox is essentially a workshop in a box.”

Writhlington-SchoolJames Stewart
Student
Writhlington School

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