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Bradford College’s 3D printing is building a new future

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CREATIVE: Zaid Bashir has been working with the technology and media team at Bradford College since 1991

CREATIVE: Zaid Bashir has been working with the technology and media team at Bradford College since 1991

“Making something out of nothing”

Throughout the past 25 years much has changed in the world of technology, from the introduction of the internet, through to breakthroughs in hardware and software.

However, one thing that has remained a constant throughout these years can be found at Bradford College in the form of technical team leader for Technology and Media, Zaid Bashir.

The 47-year-old first took up his post with the creative team back in 1991 at the tender age of 22, and though he has seen many changes with the equipment he uses on a daily basis, his passion for the job remains as alive as the day he started.

“Today, my job is completely different.” he said. “There have been so many advances in technology and I’ve certainly seen some major changes here at the college.”

Most recently, it is Zaid’s work with the 3D printer which has brought the college’s technological team into the limelight.

With renovation work currently underway on Bradford City Hall, the college was approached with the possibility of scanning and printing some of the building’s historic statues.

PRINTING: The statue of Henry V was just one of those scanned to be 3D printed by the team

PRINTING: The statue of Henry V was just one of those scanned to be 3D printed by the team

After agreeing to the unique project, a team of technicians made their way up the scaffolding to digitally scan the age-old figures as they attempted to digitally remake them for printing.

“We had never done anything like this before but thought... why not have a go and see what we can do?” Zaid said.

“We went up on the scaffolding, and managed to scan a number of the statues. The 3D prints came out really well and they were even used inside the Town Hall for the ‘sneaky peak’ tours.”

He added: “This technology is basically the equivalent of digitally photocopying a 3D item. The students love it for their end of year projects and all sorts of creations can be made.”

Using just standard office paper, 3D technology presents the opportunity to create bespoke objects for all purposes.

With the equipment’s already evidential success in the classroom, Zaid says he believes 3D printers will soon be a regular fixture in people’s homes across the country.

“Years ago, when you needed something, a bracket for a camera or even a new tool, you would go online or to a shop to find the piece,” he explained.

“Today, we are preparing to go into a world where we can honestly think ‘can we just make this?’

“It’s that concept of literally being able to make something from nothing. It is often hard to explain just how impressive this equipment can be.”

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