Exeter University CALM trip

Students studying Product Design AS and A Level at Tavistock College enjoyed a visit to Exeter university this term to investigate the emerging technology of 3D printing.

The event was part of a UK Research Council project called ‘Empowering Partnerships, Enabling Engagement’. ‘CALM’ is home to some of the worlds most advanced laser sintering technologies where the boundaries of 3D printing are being pushed with all kinds of exciting applications. Students learnt all about this incredible new technology, and investigated all kinds of samples ranging from 3D printed vertebrae to chain mail cloth printed all in one piece. The development of these materials and applications are happening at such an incredible rate that the horizons for the future of the technology change on a week by week basis.

Students were also given an extensive look at the materials testing facility and learnt a great deal about how modern materials can be tested to breaking point and developed to suit the needs of a particular application. Silvia Berretta, a PhD student who hosted us, commented:

‘It is very inspiring to help the next generation of young engineers.’

We spent the afternoon learning to use some incredible Computer Aided Design software that allows students to apply forces to their virtual model and see how a range of materials would respond to these pressures. AS student Will Dax commented, ‘Exeter University showed me a whole new side of product design, including some really interesting ways to produce products that would have been impossible with previous manufacturing processes.’ In the Technology Faculty we are building many links with industry and universities in order to give our students the best possible experience and most importantly a real word context to their studies.

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