What we did this summer: Part One – Rapid Prototyping and 3D Printing

Remember those assignments in the first week back at school? “Please tell us what you did over your summer holidays.” Oh how I groaned as I picked up my pen and tried to remember the fun and interesting bits worth telling. Well, times have changed. Now I have lots of fun, interesting and worthwhile things to talk about! So welcome to the first of our Fire Tech Camp “Show and Tell” blog posts. First up for sharing is one of our brand new courses, Rapid Prototyping, where making got especially exciting, messy and real…

Designing the Course

I met Jessica Cobb about this time last year at the Maker Faire in Rome. She’s an artist who engineers, and a scientist who loves the arts. She designs beautiful things that do something fun or useful. Her own specialty is prosthetics and kinetic sculpture. Jessica put all her experiences as a maker and as an educator together to develop an unforgettable course for our campers. Making is a real movement, getting people to create in all kinds of ways, but we’ve found that it’s difficult to get kids involved, and we wanted to fix that. We came up with a series of projects that young people could make. Besides the curriculum, we needed equipment, and a space where we could get our hands (feet, faces, floors) dirty. That was a tall order, but we were welcomed with open arms by the Makerversity, a co-working space for hardware entrepreneurs housed at Somerset House.

What We Did

For five full days our campers explored prototyping in all its glory. First up was 2D prototyping using slices and layers of 2D pictures to create “vinyl selfies” with the help of a vinyl cutter. Then we looked at how to make 2D and 3D relate, as we designed 2D objects which we laser cut out of acrylic, and then thermo-formed them into 3D objects. We looked at how to use 3D molds made out of silicone to make a series of prototypes and explored how those series were consistent or varied. Finally we designed 3D belt buckles that we then printed and were able to wear. Somewhere in there we also did a bit of soldering and electronics so that our projects could light up, blink and otherwise crank up the awesome factor! We wowed our parents with our work on the last day with a Gallery Walk and a fashion show for the wearables. Check out a few of the many projects that our campers worked on…

Vinyl selfies,where art and tech meet!
Designs for a peashooting 3D printed belt and buckle
Bert 3D-designed and printed a belt with a home for a LEGO character!
How gorgeous is this? Laser cut flowers, thermo-formed to curl up, attached to a headband and animated with LEDs. Beautiful!

Get Involved!

Rapid Prototpying was a super fun experience, getting hands-on in a new environment and being able to take home a whole collection of things which had gone from the design to the production stage in just five days! We have already sorted out another week of Rapid Prototyping: An Introduction to Making and 3D Printing for October half term so if you’ve been impressed with the projects then book now! If you or your child was a Rapid Prototyping camper this summer and have anything to add then please get in touch on our Facebook or Twitter pages, it would be great to hear about your impressions of the course and your projects.



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