DesignClass | Design & Technology Scotland
This is has been a term to remember - or forget - like no other. Still, I am happy with the progress made.
Introducing Design and Manufacture to S3 can be a tricky balancing act. Some pupils expect to be completing a course similar to woodwork or metalwork, with nothing but making activities and can be shocked at the level of knowledge and design-theory that is required. Some pupils love blue-sky design thinking, but are nervous of actually making.
I have experimented with different approaches over the years, but may have struck a winner. I always start with introducing the 'design process' including Briefs, Research and Specifications. This can be somewhat dry and abstract, but I also don't want to go through the full process to design and complex manufacture.
In this simple task, I provide the pupils with a driving-bit for an electric screwdriver. I will introduce the task by asking pupils to drive in a screw using the driving-bit alone. After much struggling, I then have the class research the problem - they lack a suitable handle.
I provide a brief (which you can download from the N5 DM section of the site) and pupils analyse this brief, plan and conduct their research. This includes using calipers to measure the driving bit and simple ergonomic/anthropometric research. After the research, a simple Specification is created.
Usually this is the end of the tale. However, in this instance, I asked pupils to create simple 2D sketches for concepts then quickly take these to 3D CAD. For most, their designs required simple revolved profiles. However, some pupils who also do Graphic Communication were able to complete vastly more complex designs. These models were then 3D printing.
I will probably rant more about 3D printers soon, and how they are sometimes treated as gimmicks in Scottish schools. However, in this case, every pupil printed their model at least once and several actually iterated their designs with subsequent improvements. The class morale was improved; they understood briefs, types of research, specifications and even CAD and 3D printing.
I'm happy with the results above. Let me know what you think.
It has been some time since I added a blog post. At the time of my last blog post, I had lots of ambitious ideas about what I would write about. My thoughts on education, design, technology, suppliers, and maybe even politics. Well, it never happened.
So, I thought I would use this space as a gallery of work and things that interest me instead. I often take lots of photos of things, or have renders and various projects underway, so this will be the space to put them. I often post stuff on Twitter too, but that is limited in space.
So, what I have here is a small selection of renders made using Blender 2.83. I have been a huge fan of Blender for a number of years, but was hesitant to introduce it to my classes because the workflow, interface and general accessibility of the software was so poor. However, Blender 2.8 changed all that. They have hugely revamped how the software works without compromising on functionality or power. As such, I introduced Blender in the first week back to school of August 2020. Within a week pupils were churning out the renders you see above.
These were all modelled within Autodesk Inventor 2019, then exported as .STEP files into Blender. I will be making support videos for this process - and general Blender tutorial videos - for the main site very soon. Needless to say, the process is easy enough for pupils to use, whilst also allowing them the excitement (and power) of using a platform with huge industrial use.
I'll write more about Blender and my thoughts concerning the future direction of Graphic Communication at some point. In the meantime, I thought I would share this pupil work. If you have any thoughts or questions, please post below or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Wood is awesome!
Getting students to understand the beauty of wood can be difficult if they are stuck using only red-deal pine. However, wood can be very expensive - especially hardwoods.
Well, it may be of interest, but the charity company Scottish Hardwoods, in Fife, Scotland are great at supporting schools and young people get interested in craftsmanship.
It is a huge facility set in the Inzievar woods, with some expert craftsmen that love to share their knowledge. they process hardwoods from throughout Scotland for a variety of customers. They can explain the whole process of cutting, drying and preparing wood for a variety of processes.
Best-of-all, they have a warehouse with lots of stunning offcuts that they sell for incredibly low prices. This is a facility that I strongly recommend visiting. You can find out more here:
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All opinions here are those of the original authors and do not represent those of DesignClass or any other organisation.
Just so you know.
This blog will have galleries or work or things I see from my travels.
Forgive the typos! :)