Saint Andrew's Day: Celebrating 3D-Printing in Scotland

Saint Andew's Day, or ' Naomh Anndrais' in native Gaelic is upon us once again. The annual celebration falls on the 30th of November and honours the patron Saint of Scotland with feasts and Cèilidh dancing taking place up and down our proud nation. For most Scots however, this national day is simply a good excuse for a bank-holiday and a well deserved lie in on a Monday. For us at 3D Printworks, this day of celebration is a great excuse to highlight a morsel of the fantastic work going on with 3D Printing and additive manufacturing in our small yet ambitious country. 

Lion Rampant Keyring
Lion Rampant Shield Scotland Keyring by Girthnath (click to open)

Education

2016 was a landmark year for 3D Printing in Scotland. Following a successful bid from the Scottish Library & Information Council (SLIC)to the Scottish Government's Digital Participation Charter Fund- £76,000 was granted and used to introduce 3D Printing to every library service in Scotland. Additional training and resources were also provided to support creativity and digital learning in public libraries. 

The printer selected was the CEL Robox printer .This device is a robust, portable and user-friendly machine, great for education. By making entry level 3D printing readily available to the public. The Scottish Government is investing in the creativity, digital literacy an innovation of the Scottish people whilst raising digital inclusion for even the most isolated or disenfranchised Scottish communities.  A great example of this is featured in the 2016 3D Printing Final Report: 

"In May 2014 Dundee Central Library was the first public library in the UK to incorporate 3D printing into their service. It enabled groups
with additional support needs, who already used the library for storytelling, creative writing sessions and IT, to use the 3D printer to produce resources to assist the library and its users. This gave people in the group a real sense of achievement, and built confidence and self-esteem."

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3D Printed model of Glasgow’s Mitchell Library created by a 3-5-year-old at the libraries “Build It” event. This kind of educational speculation has the potential to empower young people with new skills and better opportunities thereafter. 

Innovation

Under “Technology and Innovation” in the “A Manufacturing Future for Scotland” action plan the Scottish Government omitted: “There is much to be learned and gained from developing technologies in the fields of sensors, automation, additive manufacturing and the ‘Internet of Things’ . We could not agree more, technological innovation has always been at the heart of the Scottish identity. Scottish individuals invented and discovered some of the most remarkable innovations in modern history with our small country boasting products of amazing ingenuity. 

Fleming’s discovery of penicillin and Insulin, Newcomen’s bicycle, Bell’s practical telephone or Watt’s Steam Engine which powered the factories of the industrial revolution and drove humanity into the modern age. Over 200 years later, a team from the University of Glasgow's “Jetx society used 3D printing technology to create a model reproduction of Watt’s steam engine. The finished model is comprised of 800 parts and took over 800 hours to print and assemble. The model will feature in the University’s library as part of a public James Watt exhibit. It will also be a part of the University's  science fair which will be themed after the famous inventor. This model is a testament to Scotland's innovative past which has been realised using the tools of the future. 

UofG Jetx Society and their 3D Printed Steam Engine Model
UofG Jetx Society and their 3D Printed Steam Engine Model

Manufacturing

According to the Scottish Government website: Manufacturing is vital to Scotland's economy, employing more than 180,000 people across the country. The industry accounts for over half of our international exports, and half of our research and development spend". Scotland’s Economic strategy also addresses the role of manufacturing in boosting productivity. The document highlights “innovation” as key to achieving the desired outcomes relating to manufacturing.   

 

Nicola Sturgeon inspecting metal components
Nicola Sturgeon inspects manufacturing components

“I am determined that Scotland leads on the key technological and social changes. I want Scotland to be the inventor and producer of the innovations that shape the future – not just a consumer of them"

Nicola Sturgeon

Previously, Scotland’s manufacturing industry excelled in trains and ships – now, with our dynamic and growing aerospace, space and defence sectors the world looks to Scotland for satellites and planes. 

ADS Scotland was established in 2005 with the purpose of bringing Aerospace, Space, Defence, Naval and Security opportunities to Scotland. ADS have massively backed additive manufacturing with a £15.3m centre dedicated to “exploitation of 3D printing processes” to “bridge the gap between innovation and commercialisation”. 3D Printing massively benefits the aerospace industry by decreasing the time it takes for products to reach the market. This is achieved through allowing for “quicker lead times”, “rapid prototyping” and “fewer stages of production”. Furthermore, the lack of tooling allows to produce highly complex parts and shapes in low volumes. £45 has been allocated to supporting private sector R&D via Scottish Enterprise. 

 

Space

Manufacturing in Scotland is strong. It is encouraging to see so many fantastic additive manufacturing applications being found and successfully implemented into into workflows and products. Scotland is also pioneering 3D Printing at the cutting edge of science and manufacturing. Scottish space firm Orbex unveiled their prototype of a rocket that’s key to developing a UK satellite launch capability. 

Orbex, the company involved in plans for the UK’s first spaceport in A’Mhoine peninsula Sutherland, Highland Scotland. Orbex presented the rocket at the opening of their new HQ and rocket design facility in Forres in the Northern Scottish Highlands. 

The completed engineering prototype of Orbex rocket
The completed engineering prototype of Orbex rocket

Orbex Prime is a two-stage rocket designed to launch small satellite. Orbex claim to be up to 30% lighter and 20% more efficient than any other vehicle in the small launcher category. It is also the first commercial rocket engine designed to work with bio-propane, a renewable fuel source that cuts carbon emissions by 90% compared to fossil fuels.

The completed prototype of the rocket is made from a specially formulated lightweight carbon fibre and aluminium composite and includes a rocket engine created using 3D printing. The potential for the Scottish space industry is massive, Scottish Development international has targeted a £4bn increase in the industries value by 2030. Exciting times. 

 

Over the short time I have been working I with 3D Printworks have seen massive progress in the 3D Printing industry and it is exciting to see the sector really starting to come into its own as a manufacturing solution. The potential for this industry to benefit Scotland is also massive, our small country has always been at the forefront of invention and innovation and there are exciting plans to continue this into the decades to come. Stay tuned to our social networks to hear more news about additive manufacturing in Scotland.  

At 3D print works, we are privileged to be a part the additive manufacturing industry in Scotland and have great pride in being the UK's only quality 3D printer filament manufacturers. You can shop our fantastic range here! For 3D printing services please contact us directly, the possibilities are endless!

Thank you for reading and have a lovely Saint Andrew's Day !