‘The 3D world - that is sometimes 2D’
Hardly a week goes by without 3D-Printing hitting the headlines. This week it was Cardiff biker, Stephen Power, who had major facial reconstruction using 3D-printed templates and printed titanium implants. Despite current media attention, the technique is not all that new.I saw something very similar about 7 years ago when TechSoft started to sell the Stratasys range of 3D Printers. The human skull produced from scan data was not (after all) a macabre sample, but a template to enable surgeons to plan a brain tumour operation on a young girl. They had used one of theDimension machines we were selling at the time.
2D CAD/CAM is just as important
Other forms of CAD/CAM are equally relevant so now is a good time to give them a bit of attention. CNC knife-cutters are about the easiest and most versatile tools for students to engage in real CAD/CAM activity and the work they do will be just as credible in assessment terms. And value for money? A Roland CAMM 1 GX-24E is top-of-the-line technology for commercial users,but it costs about jthe same as a budget entry-level 3D printer.
A Roland CAMM 1 or Stika machine demonstrates CAD/CAM principles perfectly and, like all CAD/CAM tools, produces professional results that do full justice to the quality of the design work. In the classroom, knife-cutters have plenty of practical advantages too. Materials are inexpensive and output is rapid – very rapid in the case of the Roland GX series machines. A full set of class projects at KS3 can be output in minutes with the students watching. I think this is important.
Students do the work
Practicalities must dictate, but I’m always a bit uncomfortable when CNC machines are sited out of the classroom. CAD/CAM work must be something that students actually do and not a kind of bureaux-service provided by the technician.TechSoft supply a huge variety of materials for knife-cutting includingspecial card for packages and templates, heat-applied vinyls for textiles work, metallics, self-adhesive media for labels and even glow-in-the-dark media for head turning effects in the street or at the disco.
Exemplary Work in Hampshire