What might the Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Councillor Michael Fox, and his wife Rosemary have expected when they came in for a tour of the college with Principal Andrew Brewerton this week?
They might have expected to gain a unique and personal insight into the college’s changes and progress over the past few years from the man at the head of it.
Perhaps they hoped to see our top of the range new facilities, including the recently-opened new building of our contemporary crafts and digital design centre – home to our Jewellery and Silversmithing workshops, Printed Textile Design and Surface Pattern studios, and more.
But the Lord Mayor probably didn’t anticipate that, come the end of the day, he’d be sat in front of a 3D scanner and would be taking home a 3D print his own face.
“It’s a thing of the future,” the Lord Mayor said of the 3D printing technologies. “Or so I thought. It’s amazing.”
The Mayor’s three-dimensional image was taken using our Sense 3D scanner. The scanning process takes 10 minutes when final touches to the 3D image are then made using Sense 3D software on a high-powered computer.
The finalised, full-colour 3D image is then sent to print on our £40,000 ZCorp 450 3D printer.
The colour printing process for the bust of the Mayor took three hours, with the printer using a high-performance composite powder to create the 3D models. Any leftover waste powder is then recycled and re-used.
“The facilities here, to my mind, are second to none,” the Lord Mayor said.
“The money has been spent where it should be, concentrating on what the students want. It’s really concentrating on ‘working’ things – rather than just decoration.”
The 3D scanning and printing technology, on top of creating 3D busts of the Lord Mayor of Plymouth, will be highly beneficial to students from a wide range of courses.
“Prototypes of designs will be able to be created for students studying on courses such as Contemporary Crafts,” said Ian Hankey, FabLab manager.
“Accessories and materials can be designed and printed for students on our Fashion, Printed Textile Design and Surface Pattern, or Costume Production programmes.
“Animation and Game Arts students can design and build props or characters. The options are endless.”
The bust, which was given to the Lord Mayor at the end of the day as a gift from the college, is now proudly on display in the Lord Mayor’s Parlour at the Council House.
“The tour has been a real eye-opener,” the Lord Mayor added. “I’ve had a very informative talk from the Principal, explaining what’s been going on over the last few years.
“I’ve really enjoyed my visit.”