Turning virtual designs into 3D physical objects will soon become a reality for staff and students at the University of Bristol’s Merchant Venturers School of Engineering (MVSE) thanks to the donation of the latest in 3D technology by Bits from Bytes, a subsidiary of 3D Systems Ltd.
3D printing takes virtual designs from computer aided design (CAD) or animation modelling software and turns them into physical 3D objects, building them up layer by layer. It works like a computerised hot-glue gun which moves about putting down layers of molten plastic in precise locations.
The model that will be donated to the University is a 3DTouch, which works by building up layers of either PLA or ABS plastic. The 3D model is formed from the molten plastic using the data from a CAD drawing.
3D print technology is a rapidly developing technology and is now used extensively within manufacturing, engineering and academic research.
The donation will enable the University, working with Bits from Bytes, to offer the latest educational 3D printing technology to students and staff in the MVSE.
Dr Neill Campbell, Head of the Merchant Venturers School of Engineering at the University of Bristol, said: “We are extremely grateful to Bits from Bytes for the donation of this latest 3D equipment. The 3D printer is a valuable research tool and will help accelerate projects that would normally take time using conventional modelling methods. The technology will open up a whole new world of opportunity and will ensure staff and students continue to be at the forefront of teaching and research.”
Iain Major, IT and Operations Director of Bits from Bytes and a University alumnus, added: “We are delighted to be able to provide a launch pad for research at the University of Bristol. It will be fantastic to find out via our online forum what objects students are printing in MVSE. Bristol has an outstanding reputation for producing engineers equipped for the future, now they will be able to get hands-on experience of this futuristic technology on a daily basis. We are firmly committed to supporting all sectors of education and to encourage users of our machines to push boundaries with novel applications of the technology.”
The official handover of the 3D equipment took place on Monday 5 November in the atrium of the Merchant Venturers School of Engineering, Woodland Road, Bristol.