3D Printing Loan scheme

IMechE STEM Ambassadors, volunteering on behalf of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, can loan a 3D printer for their educational outreach.

Ultimaker  3D printing

The 3D printer will be loaned by CREATE Education. The loan scheme, including all logistics and consumables, will be managed by CREATE Education independently of IMechE HQ.

The 3D printer as a resource is intended to illustrate the development of digital design, manufacturing skills and to demonstrate additive layer manufacturing techniques to the next generation.

Requesting a printer: costs, timescales and availability

  • 3D printers are available to any existing IMechE member who is registered with STEM Learning as an ambassador. Bookings will be processed on a first come, first served basis
  • Two weeks notice is needed to book a printer
  • Printers can be booked for 28 days maximum
  • There is no limit as to how many times a region can book the printer. However, for multiple booking requests for the same date(s), priority will be given to regions who are booking the printer for the first time
  • Loan of the 3D printer is free of charge to IMechE STEM Ambassadors
  • CREATE Education will cover all delivery and collection costs and will secure additional liability cover each time to provide additional security for the value of the 3D printer.

Requesting a printer: placing an order, delivery and return

  • To submit an application, please complete the loan request form 

  • The representative of IMechE receiving the printer is responsible for the safe storage of all packaging and for re-packaging the printer carefully in time for collection by the courier.  All accessories and any unused filament should be returned with the printer

  • CREATE Education will organise the delivery and return of the loan machine

  • All accessories and any unused filament should be returned with the printer

  • If something hasn’t been working correctly or if there is an issue with packaging, please contact support@createeducation.com or call on 01257 276116 as soon as possible so the CREATE Education support team can help to resolve any issues.

Health and Safety: operating the printer and technical support

  • Who can operate the printer: Any IMechE STEM ambassador who has previous training/ experience of the printer can operate the machine
  • Technical support: Each recipient will be offered dedicated time to spend on a technical support call to assist with unboxing, set up, etc. Call 01257 276116 and ask to speak to technical support
  • A technician or expert user be arranged , on request, to support the Ambassador at an event at cost to the respective IMechE regional budget
  • Risk assessment: If a venue/host needs a risk assessment with specifics about the 3D printer/materials, CREATE Education can supply a standard 3D printing risk assessment. To request a risk assessment, please email Create Education directly at enquiries@createeducation.com
  • Public liability insurance: If the venue/host needs copies of relevant public liability insurance certificates, these can be made available upon request

  • Operating safety
    • Participants at any STEM event should be aware of the build plate and the printhead. Both of these areas are moving parts and will heat up to high temperatures up to 260 degrees
    • The printer should be used in an open and well ventilated area to allow any potential fumes to dissipate. More industrial materials may give off an odour but PLA should not cause any issues.

What is provided: materials

  • CREATE Education will provide a reel of PLA 3D printing filament, along with an SD card containing relevant IMechE print files.  A ‘Getting Started Guide’ will also be provided with the 3D printer

  • Additional materials (filaments) are available to purchase on the CREATE Education website in a wide variety of colours. Alternatively, call CREATE Education on 01257 276116 to order additional filament

What is provided: software availability and use

  • Laptop and CAD and CAM software: If there is the requirement, CREATE Education could provide a loan laptop with the CAD & CAM software, but this would need to be funded by the respective region’s IMechE regional budget and organised independently from IMechE HQ
  • CAD (Computer Aided Design) software: 
    • Tinkercad is recommended for all levels, as it is hosted online and the simplest to access
    • Fusion 360 is a more advanced alternative, but it may be complex to install and get student accounts prior to a workshop 
  • Creating new build files for use on the printer: 3D models can be downloaded from file sharing sites such as www.thingiverse.com or www.youmagine.com. Alternatively, ambassadors can design their own files using freely available 3D modelling software such as www.tinkercad.com.
  • Recommended  CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) software is recommended for creating a build file from the CAD model: Ultimaker Curasoftware, downloadable free of charge. This will need to be installed onto the Ambassador’s computer prior to the training workshop.

Planning activities: guidance

What activities are already planned and available for members to follow?

The CREATE Education website contains a range of free resources which include single lesson activities and longer projects. Members can view, download, then use directly or edit/adapt any of these resources to meet the requirements of their own school outreach activities.


Planning activities: visual aids for students

  • Video: A good video to introduce the concept of 3D printing is available 

  • PowerPoint presentations for primary/secondary school age children: Two presentations (a primary and a secondary version) which introduce 3D printing will be provided as part of the training workshop resources.

3D printing and other printer schemes: general

3D printing: environment and sustainability

  • Are the plastic materials used environmentally friendly?

FFF or FDM printing uses thermoplastics which are easily recyclable. PLA is the most popular material in use, which is an environmentally friendly and sustainable plastic. You can learn more about the sustainability of PLA

  • How are 3D printers environmentally friendly?
  • Additive manufacturing produces little to no waste compared to traditional subtractive methods. Many filament companies such as Filamentive are collecting and recycling waste plastics to clean up the environment

    • How sustainable is the PLA material?

    PLA is short for Polylactic Acid. It is a Thermoplastic which means it can be melted and easily recycled. It is made from the starch of plants such as corn, sugar cane and sugar beet, making it environmentally friendly and sustainable

Get in touch

If you have an upcoming school visit and would like to know more about resources available to you contact



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