Students embrace the 3D printing revolution

One of the pupils using the design software.
One of the pupils using the design software.

Students at Carrick Academy are embracing the 3D printing revolution with help from local businesses and organisations.

Thanks to the kindness of The Round Table Fundraising Golf Tournament and The William Grant Foundation students in the Carrick Academy Design & Technology department are now producing full working parts from the computer graphics they have previously produced using the Ultimaker 2 3D printer.

Pupils working on the 3D printer project to recreate a vase.

Pupils working on the 3D printer project to recreate a vase.

Graphics drawn on Inventor, industry standard 3D modelling software, are converted to STL files before being uploaded to the 3D Printing software – Cura 2.5.

Depending on the complexity and size of the project physical models can be produced within hours of initial design proposal.

It’s a huge leap forward in technology and brings the graphics technology in the school up to new standards. Students revel in the real time production of projects and are instantly hooked by the intuitive software. In the senior school portfolio evidence is being created that satisfies elements of the SQA exam syllabus.

Molly McMillan, Lauren Limond, Olivia Marshall, Keelan McCartney, Jack McCormick, current 5th years and Mr McGinnis (Faculty Head of Technology), organised a showcase afternoon to show off their new addition to the department.

Some of the designs produced using the 3D printers.

Some of the designs produced using the 3D printers.

Local companies and organisations NCCBC and The Royal Bank of Scotland are also helping the department to embrace laser cutting technology.

The industry standard equipment has a laser powerful enough to cut through 10mm plywood and plastics and engrave on to a number of materials including glass.

The accuracy of the HPC Laser Cutter is to 0.1mm and has revolutionised design and make from junior school up.

Using the intuitive 3d modelling software, Inventor, students create their designs and then convert to DXF files for the laser cutter software. Production is very quick with whole class sets being cut within minutes and with very minimal waste compared to more traditional methods.

Carrick Academy pupils at the languages day.

Carrick Academy pupils at the languages day.

Students have really taken to the possibilities of the machine and are now only constrained by their own creativity.

Molly McMillan, Lauren Limond, Olivia Marshall, Keelan McCartney, Jack McCormick, current 5th years, organised a showcase afternoon to show off their recent to the department.

Pupils have also been broadening their horizons with languages.

Students of Higher French and Higher German attended a formative and engaging presentation at the Aviator Suite at Prestwick Airport last week and found out about the relevance of foreign language skills in a work context.

The guest speakers all had a range of experiences with languages.  

EasyJet pilot Hugh Shiels regrets not having taken his languages further at school. However, he showed the pupils a short video of himself putting his schoolboy French to the test. His co-pilot filmed Hugh in the cockpit of his plane, when he was negotiating a shortcut through French air space with one of the air traffic controllers.

Culzean Castle’s bi-lingual Education Officer Elena Trimarchi spoke about the range of nationalities who flock to Scotland and to our local castle in particular.

She commented that their visitors are delighted to hear even a few words in their own language from the tour guides and staff.

Mark Pentleton, who runs his own language learning business, Radio Lingua, demonstrated an IT solution to learning and acquiring more languages with his Coffee Break Language apps and website. Indeed, he encouraged his young audience to add new and exotic languages to their portfolio such as Korean, Swahili and even Icelandic!

It was good to hear that German is still one of the most sought-after languages for the world of business and enterprise.

Carrick Academy students are well placed given that it is now the only secondary school within South Ayrshire which offers German within its curriculum. The school also offers French from S1 to S6 along with a taster in Chinese.

The event was organised by SCILT (Scotland’s Centre for Language Teaching) and DYW Ayrshire (Developing the Young Workforce).