MakerBot expands the possibilities at N.A. College
Sunderland-based engineering education specialist N.A. College has invested in seven MakerBot Replicators to help expand the creative and educational possibilities for its engineering students.
N.A. College evolved five months ago from the original NAC Education division of the 14-year-old NAC Group. It is a leading source of automotive agency workers throughout the UK and also offers a nine-week training course leading to an apprenticeship with Calsonic Kansei. N.A. College also works closely with Nissan and its suppliers, offering a range of courses tailored specifically around the needs of the companies while maximising opportunities for its students.
George Cox, School Engagement Tutor for N.A. College, George Cox, has been working with the College for two years. He teaches the five-day Industrial Cadets F1 programme based around the F1 in Schools competition. The programme includes teaching students about CAD, 3D printing and presentational skills. He also mentors teams through the full F1 in Schools competition and teaches the pre-apprentice sixth form programme the college now provides, which is all engineering based.
The college recently purchased seven MakerBot Replicator 3D Printers from the Newcastle branch of the specialist supplier Concept Group, a Xerox company. George Explaining the rationale behind the purchasing decision, George said: “The MakerBot Replicators are well-priced, medium sized 3D printers that can produce bigger and more detailed models than our current printers could manage, which enables us to expand the possibilities for our students.
“It is a great machine, and Concept Group provided a brilliant service, quickly resolving some issues we had with one of the machines, and also offered an attractive price.”
Concept Group’s Newcastle Sales Manager, Stewart Hunter said: “The MakerBot Replicator was the perfect solution for N.A. College as it is simple to operate and offers a host of features, including a larger build plate. It can also print finer detail than its competitors without pricing itself out of reach.”
Simplicity is a key element of the MakerBot Replicator 3D print experience. Installation is easy and quick, and the learning curve is minimal, thanks to its intuitive operating systems. Even its top mounted 3.5 inch, full colour LCD display is easy to read and received enthusiastic reports from industry reviewers. Operators can choose settings that range from fast draft to finer resolution, subject to need, and by using precise, fused deposition modelling, the versatile printer combines substantial build volume with ease-of-use.
When taking a 3D CAD model to 3D print, the machine’s 100-micron layer resolution can create professional-quality, high-resolution prototypes, and complex models for every type of creative project. It has three connectivity options, USB, Wi-Fi, and Ethernet, which deliver a seamless workflow.
Users can access their object library and see previews of their 3D model files, while an on-board camera automatically takes reference pictures of final prints and saves them to a cloud storage library. Cloud and app-enabled, the printer connects to MakerBot’s software options, including MakerBot Desktop, MakerBot Mobile, and Thingiverse, to provide an effortless yet sophisticated 3D printing experience.
Even the MakerBot Replicator’s smart extruder is simple to replace. It detects when the filament runs out, automatically pauses the print process and sends notifications to MakerBot Desktop and MakerBot Mobile. Once a new filament has been fitted the printer continues the paused project with the absolute minimum of downtime. It is recommended that operators always use the US manufactured MakerBot PLA Filament, which is the best, most consistent filament for the printer. Tested in-house by MakerBot to ensure highest quality standards, it is uniformly round to ensure that it will consistently flow through the extruder onto the build plate in smooth, even layers.
N.A. College’s George Cox has the final word: “When we first looked at investing in new 3D printers we knew what we wanted and what we could afford. The two seemed unlikely to match up, but Concept Group and MakerBot have done everything we asked and more, and it’s our students who will benefit. It’s the perfect outcome!”
For further information on N.A. College, visit: www.nacollege.co.uk
For further information on Concept Group, visit: www.concept-group.co.uk
For further information on Art Systems, visit: www.artsystems.co.uk