Tag Archives: 3D printer

‘Virtual blacksmith’ simulator wins Heritage Lottery Fund support

Schoolchildren will be able to produce real blacksmith artefacts using the latest 3D-printer technology thanks to a grant of £31,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Led by Computer Scientists from the University of Lincoln, UK, and Chain Bridge Forge in Spalding, the Heritage Craft Simulation project will provide a 21st Century take on blacksmithing by developing a ‘virtual craft simulator’.

The project aims to revive the process of crafting techniques and craftsmanship for a new generation.

Developing bespoke software and integrating human motion capture tracking sensors, users will be able to create their own artefact which can then be ‘printed’ as a keepsake.

Dr John Murray, from the University’s School of Computer Science, said: “The technology will teach the schoolchildren how to perform blacksmith tasks, giving them tips and allowing them to ‘work’ the material. The system would then 3D print their artefact as a memento of their crafting work. It is hoped that this would preserve the heritage for future generations. The long-term aim is to apply this technology to simulate all heritage crafts, such as pottery or materials.”

Heritage crafts played an important role for the local community, but many, including blacksmithing, have been in decline since the early 20th Century. It is hoped this project will pass on the knowledge and skills that were held by blacksmiths to help conserve the craft.

Dr Murray will be working with volunteers from Chain Bridge Forge in Spalding; an early 19th Century blacksmith’s workshop that has served as a museum and heritage centre since 2011.

The simulator will first be placed in the Forge but will then be showcased at major UK museums and heritage centres before being available for loan to schools.

Some of the funding will also be used to train 30 University of Lincoln students as blacksmiths to guide schoolchildren through the process.

Geoff Taylor, from Chain Bridge Forge, said: “We aim to allow people to try blacksmithing for themselves without the need to use dangerous and heavy equipment, or indeed without many years training as an apprentice. This project will allow schools to bring back exposure of these crafts to pupils in a new, modern and safe way.”

Chain Bridge Forge
Chain Bridge Forge
Chain Bridge Forge
Chain Bridge Forge

Get up to speed

Flying quadrocopters, robotic arms and a 3D printer will all be demonstrated at an event aimed at showcasing the engineering and manufacturing sector.

Get up to Speed is one of the headline events of the 2012 Global Manufacturing Festival in Sheffield. It aims to inspire the next generation of engineering talent by bringing education and business closer together.

The University of Lincoln has been invited to exhibit at the interactive event which last year attracted more than 2,000 young people, families and teachers.

Dr John Murray, from the University’s School of Computer Science, said: “This is a great opportunity for the University to showcase its work and I’m delighted to be going along. It’s a fantastic event which will be sure to get children interested in and wanting to study Computer Science, Engineering and other related subjects required for a career in manufacturing industries.”

Dr Murray will be attending the Festival on Wednesday, April 17, along with a group of students from the University who will be operating a host of interactive robots.

Visitors will be able to see quadrocopters in action, a printer that can create 3D objects and robots that can be controlled through an Xbox.

Dr Murray said: “The robots we’ll be taking along can mimic people and this technology can be used in situations such as search and rescue operations where sending in humans would be too dangerous. It’s this sort of information we’ll be looking to explain to visitors. A lot of people think Computer Science is just about being sat at a desk programming, but that isn’t the case at all.”

Get up to Speed is the chance to see some of the fastest vehicles, innovations and people all in one place. As well as being able to participate in a number of interactive activities and simulations, visitors will be able to talk to apprentices, find out what it’s like to work in the sector and one day play a part in helping to achieve some future world records.

More than 30 local engineering and manufacturing companies will be exhibiting alongside the University of Lincoln at the event which runs from 10am to 6.30pm at The Blue Shed in Brightside Lane, Sheffield. To find out more and book places at the event visit http://www.be-sy.co.uk/news/get-up-to-speed.html