3D Printing Technology Comes to East Surrey College
Members of the College’s executive team were full of questions this week, during a live demonstration of four new 3D printers. Fortunately, Stefan Mohammed, Lecturer in Engineering, had all the answers!
The purchase of the printers was funded by the Office for Students, an independent regulator of Higher Education in England. This followed a bid submitted by Stefan 18 months ago.
Stefan recommended the purchase of one larger Ultimaker S5 with a build capacity of 330 x 240 x 300, and three smaller Ultimaker 2+ Connect machines, with a build capacity of 200 x 200 x 180. The printers are current industry standard, widely used in business and education. They are low maintenance, reliable and robust. Stefan explained the advantages of having several printers, as throughout the busy periods, all printers can run simultaneously if needed. The printers produce both draft and engineering quality models.
The printers work with CAD software (Computer-Aided Design) and can use various materials. The material comes on a reel and is fed into the printer via a Bowden tube. The material is melted and then laid down in layers over a number of hours. Fans cool the material, resulting in the final 3D model, in this case an articulated slug made from PLA (recycled plastic).
Stefan commented, “Having 3D printers available offers students more advanced production capabilities for their projects which helps prepare them for the real-world working environment.”
Initially the printers will be made available to students across Engineering, Construction and Motor Vehicle & Motorsports courses. The printers will supplement traditional methods of creating prototypes and final components, which can be time-consuming and costly.
Kam Dehal, Executive Director Commercial & Partnerships (College Group), added, “The new 3D printers are a great addition for the College, as well as enhancing our students’ experiences. The physical models will bring students’ ideas to life – which will have a really positive impact.”
The executive team are keen to explore how the printers might benefit students across a range of courses at both East Surrey College and John Ruskin College.
If you’re interested in studying Engineering, Construction or Motor Vehicle & Motorsports in September 2023 – click here to find out more!