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October 2016
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December 2016

November 2016

Construction begins

So after much printing out of all the parts of Elizabeth Tower (see here for files) today we began the project. With one child off ill, we were down to just three children (and two after half an hour when another fell ill and left early), so initial painting did not get as far as we'd hoped for.

However, by the end of this session we had managed to put a first black coat on two of the roof sections and one clock face, and get several of the tower pieces painted with their first coat of cream.

Photo 28-11-2016, 16 13 29
Photo 28-11-2016, 16 13 29

We also briefly looked at the clock kit that will be used to fit working hands onto one of the sides of the tower turning this construction into a fully functioning clock, and began thinking about how it would be fitted (and more importantly how the battery would be reached in the future when it needed to be changed). The end result of this looks like a little bit of careful drilling work will be required to ensure that the clock shaft will fit through several layers of PLA. I wonder who will be put in control of that job...

Certificates presented

The Tardises are completed, and the children involved has now taken them home to (hopefully) display proudly in their bedrooms. They were presented with their Tardises and a certificate in assembly.


Week Five

Good news! The pupils have completed their first project - and four Tardises are now sitting drying on a classroom windowsill.

And they look amazing.

From plain 3D printed sections, to fully constructed and painted with internal lightning fitted the pupils have done a great job. We'll show them off in assembly this week, and then they can take them home and enjoy them.


Week Four

We moved onto the electrics this week. With the LED light cables soldered ready for the children, they were given the task of connecting the rest of the wires to complete the circuit,


then fit the LED light holder deep inside the Tardis, before finally fixing the switch panel at the bottom of the Tardis. 


They then went to put the roof panels on, but discovered that the paint layer they had added meant the roof would not fit. 10 minutes of rapid sanding around the edge of the roof helped to create a snug fit.

The end-of-session result for most of the pupils was a Tardis that suddenly looked like this when they flicked the switch.


As you can see - and as the pupils realised - the bright light shows up where they rushed their painting in the first week, and they can see where they need to touch up the Tardis in the next session before they have completed their first project.

So, next week - repainting, fitting of the roof light and cap, and final touch ups.

Soldering. How I hate thee!


My job for the afternoon was to solder these.

I don't like soldering. I don't like a very hot spear of metal that can melt other metals being near me, never mind having to hold it and use it to try and fix wires onto contact points. I want someone to invent "cold soldering". I'd be the first to back it.

In-between session jobs...

During the last session the pupils were testing the electrics and checking that the LEDs worked. Fortunately all did, but we did discover an issue that means I need to do a little bit of "homework" before the next session.

The plan had been to use Sugru to set the wires onto the contacts, but unfortunately this did not work effectively, and so I have the weekend job of soldering the wires to the LEDs. I'd love to get the children involved with soldering the contacts, but I can imagine the health and safety forms that would need to be filled in if one of the group were to suffer a burn.

It's less hassle to solder them myself.

A little repair job

Well, after several hours of frustration, lots of dismantling and several moments of false hope, the first major problem with the 3D printer is now sorted.

The problem? Tucked deep inside the workings of the printer, was a little piece of filament that had snapped off the roll and was stuck just above the extruder (you can just see it in the image below - there's about 1cm of the white filament sticking out of the metal tube). 


That one little piece was stopping any freshly fed filament from reaching the extruder, and was causing all the problems, but after lots of careful tugging with pliers, and a little bit of forceful feeding into the extruder, it cleared and the printer is now functioning properly once again.


So, it's time to return to printing out the parts of Big Ben ready for the next project.

The first major problem

As previously mentioned before, we have had issues with the filament snapping. After checking the filament roll we found so much of it had broken that it was no longer usable, and so we ordered a fresh roll.

However, when we came to use the new filament we discovered that it failed to load. No matter how many times we tried, the extruder just would not pull the filament into the printer. 

Eventually we contacted the manufacturer and were given advice about how to open up the extruder and see whether there was a filament clog inside (they sent a link to a video guide - in Chinese!). This will be my job for the weekend so that hopefully by Monday we can continue to print out the remaining parts for the next project.