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TCT event teaches tomorrow's engineers 3D printing

More than 300 secondary school children have been given hands-on experience of 3D printing techniques at the UK 3D printing event, TCT and Personalize in Birmingham, which took place 30 September to 1 October.

The ‘Inspired Minds’ project at the show included a two-hour workshop to give students experience of CAD and additive manufacturing technologies in a workshop environment. The student programme was organised by TCT, 3D Systems and Black County Atelier (BCA), a company providing additive manufacture and smart technologies curricula for teachers.

This year's Inspired Minds incorporated a course developed by Black Country Atelier which reflected the new UK national programme of study. Pupils were able to apply real-world design and manufacture thinking into their work in an ecosystem that included not only technology, but teacher training and the new curriculum.

Jing Lu, director at BCA, commented before the show: ‘3D printing is becoming an essential part of schools' technology offering and we're excited to work with partners who are as passionate about education as we are. We want to make sure pupils can gain the design and manufacturing skills of the future and we are delighted to announce that, as part of Inspired Minds 2015, we will offer participating pupils a route to our industry-recognised 3D printing awards and certificates, helping students progress and capture new opportunities.’

LPW Technology, a company providing metal powders for additive manufacturing, took a group of 40 engineering students from Riverside College in Widnes, UK to the TCT event in Birmingham to take part in the Inspired Minds course.

LPW is working with Riverside College to help shape the college’s engineering course curriculum and enhance training provided in the college’s new £3.6 million Engineering and Construction Centre at its Kingsway Campus. The centre provides training in traditional engineering methods, as well as emerging technologies including additive manufacturing.

Riverside College head of skills and enterprise, Jayne Smith, told Laser Systems Europe: 'Additive manufacturing is becoming increasingly important in the college's curriculum and the applications are vital in many areas in addition to engineering. We are excited about the partnership with LPW who share our passion for developing the future workforce with additive manufacturing knowledge and technician and design skills now sought by employers in its application.'

The Riverside students were able to see full working systems of scanners and 3D printers in action at the exhibition, Smith said. Displays included 3D applications in manufacturing, medicine, sport, aerospace and automotive industries.

'The students were given a talk by a leading manufacturer on the day and also attended a workshop where they were able to develop their Computer Aided Design skills and problem solving in 3D design and applied these to making some folding headphones,' said Smith. 'Our young professionals were also able to visit all the stands and mix with a vast range of companies and experts in the field to further their understanding of developments within this new technology.'

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