Breaking the mould at the GDST 3D Design Challenge

On Thursday 10 March, nearly 100 students from 11 GDST schools and academies attended the GDST’s first 3D Design Conference, hosted by Northampton High School, with 31 teams taking part in the final of the GDST 3D Design Challenge.

Working in small teams, students were asked to design a 3D printable product to support the work of international charity, WaterAid.

The charity works to improve access to clean water and better sanitation in some of the world’s poorest countries, where many women and girls have to walk miles every day to collect water for their families, leaving little time for education.

The students presented their ideas to a distinguished panel of industry experts and innovators who judged the entries on the concept behind the technical design and the engineering element.

The Challenge helped students develop new skills, confidence and knowledge of the career options available within the broad field of computer-aided design and digital technology.

Samantha Payne from Open Bionics, who produce 3D printed prosthetic limbs, proved an inspirational speaker, capturing the imagination of the girls at the event.

The winning design in the Junior category, by Team ‘3LEE’, all aged 12 and 13 from Blackheath High School, was a model of a collapsible barrel that could be used to transport water from a waterhole to a village. They won the overall Junior trophy and a 3D printer for their school.

In the Senior category, the five-strong winning team from Brighton & Hove High School developed The Water Lily, which collects water through rainwater and fog harvesting. It can be used anywhere in the world as it relies only on natural phenomena such as gravity and condensation.

Helen Fraser, chief executive of the GDST, said:

“The GDST 3D Design Challenge is an exciting, creative and collaborative opportunity for our students. The entries were of a very high standard and I want to thank everyone involved for their enthusiasm. All our schools encourage young people to develop an appreciation of technology early in life and I look forward to hearing more from our finalists in the future.”

Helen Seacombe from WaterAid added:

“One in ten people worldwide lack access to clean water, while one in three have nowhere safe to go to the toilet. This injustice hits women and girls the hardest, affecting their health, dignity and life chances. WaterAid is grateful to the GDST for helping to raise awareness of this global crisis as we work towards a world where everyone everywhere has access to these basic resources by 2030.”

The winning teams were:

Overall Winner – Junior

Overall Winner – Senior

  • Team: Hydrosolution
  • School: Brighton Girls
  • Members: Eleanor Palmer, Jennifer Joseph, Lisa She-yin, Qinglu Chen, Qingwen Wang

Best Technical Design – Junior

Best Technical Design – Senior

  • Team: Team Aid
  • School: Portsmouth High School
  • Members: Evelyn Sadler, Olivia Fretwell, Polly Williams, Yasamin Nasar

Product with the greatest potential for Global Impact – Junior

Product with the greatest potential for Global Impact – Senior

  • Team: Hydrosolution
  • School: Brighton Girls
  • Members: Eleanor Palmer, Jennifer Joseph, Lisa She-yin, Qinglu Chen, Qingwen Wang

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