Inspire people to get involved in engineering

Help me raise £8,160 to buy a unique 3D printer for Manchester's students

  • £285

    pledged of £8,160

    • 6


    • 0


Completion Date: Sun 07 Feb 2021

View the video transcript.

I'm raising £8,160 to buy a unique 3D printer, which will inspire more people to get involved in engineering.   


My name’s Chris Eaton. I’m a technician in The University of Manchester’s School of Engineering. I support students to use a wide range of printing technology to support their learning. 

My job is to run the University’s 3D print lab. It’s currently in the Pariser Building. But it’ll soon be moving to the new Manchester Engineering Campus - due to open in September 2022. 

In case you haven’t heard about it yet, the new Manchester Engineering Campus will be the largest of its kind in the UK. It will house more than 7,000 students and 1,000 staff. Right at the heart of the facility will be a Makerspace – a place for experiments and collaboration. 

This Makerspace will be run by students, for students. It will be used by students from every faculty. And it will be open to the local community – inspiring schoolchildren and college students to explore engineering for the first time.


What am I doing and why? 

I’m raising £8,160 to buy a unique 3D printer, which will inspire more people to get involved in engineering.

The students that I support have access to almost all available print technologies. The notable exception to this is a hybrid 3D print machine. It can do both additive and subtractive manufacturing in the same unit. In essence – switching from a 3D printer into a cutter and vice versa.

This hybrid 3D print technology is the future of manufacturing. It’s a new technology that commercial employers will expect our graduates to be able to use. And it will be an important part of the new Makerspace too.

Having the skills to use these kinds of printers will boost our Engineering students’ job prospects. But I also want my students to have access to the very best resources during their time here at Manchester. Because it’s important for their learning opportunities.

With a hybrid 3D print machine, our students will be able to print with a wider variety of materials than they're currently able to. Each material has different properties - so they'll be able to make products that they couldn't make with a traditional 3D printer. 

What I love most about my job is that it’s not only Engineering students I support. The print lab is used by students from across the University. Anybody who’s never done 3D printing could pick up the basics within 10 or 15 minutes. They could design something, print it and see the outcome pretty much straight away. It’s a great experience for all students.

This hybrid 3D print machine is much simpler to use than a separate cutting machine. The barrier to use is much lower, especially for people who aren’t Engineers. It’s a simpler tool that will expand the ways students from across the whole University are able to use 3D printing. And it will help to inspire other members of our community too.

And this is important. We already have students from across all three faculties making use of our existing technologies in countless ingenious ways. We have dentists printing dentures and gumshields. We have medics 3D printing skin and bone bricks. And we have fashion students 3D printing whole garments. Architects, artists and archaeologists are all making use of our existing technology. Imagine the possibilities if they had access to this hybrid printing and cutting machine.

Why is this important to me? 

I love to see new students experience engineering. One of the best ways to bring them into STEM is through hacker projects. Projects where students make something themselves and put it together. They learn the principles of engineering through ‘doing’ – rather than through a page full of figures and numbers. For me, it's exciting to get people involved by getting them hands on.

This hybrid printer will allow students from across the University to make things related to their studies. They’ll be able to ‘have a go’ and learn through experience. And who knows what one of my students might come up with later in their career? Who knows what problems they might solve?

Why should this be important to you? What impact will you have by making a gift? 

What is your role as a donor? It’s to contribute to a better future isn’t it? And a better future depends on people. It depends on their capabilities to create - to be innovative. And this is what you'll provide Manchester's students with, through this 3D printer in the Makerspace. 3D printing is a platform for people to design materials and to promote innovation and creativity. Through funding this machine, you’ll help upskill more people who can contribute to a better future. Enabling them to use that innovation and creativity to address the major issues that face us all today. Thank you. 

Where will the money go?

What will I spend the funding on if I hit my minimum?  

If I hit my minimum target of £6,600, I’ll spend the funds on this unique 5axismaker 5xm400. It's the first affordable subtractive and additive 3D printer.   

Where will the money go if I hit my full target?  

If I hit my full target of £8,160 the money will go on the bigger version of the 3D printer - this 5axismaker 5xm600.   

What will I do with extra funds if things take off and I raise more than my target? 

If I raise more than my target, I’ll put the extra funds towards other student equipment in the Makerspace.   

How often will I give updates on progress when I’m running my campaign? 

I’ll keep in touch throughout the campaign, to let you know how I’m getting on. I’ll be especially excited to let you know when I (hopefully) hit my targets.

Once the campaign is finished, assuming it’s successful, I’ll keep you up to date with the progress of the Makerspace. And I'll send you some photographs once the printer is in situ.    


I have some great rewards to thank everyone who sponsors me, whatever the amount you might give. Check them out down the right-hand side of this page.   

Find me here

Follow me to find out how I’m doing: 

Help me succeed

You don't need to give money to help me succeed. Please share this project with anyone you think would support me. On Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, by email, telephone, in a chat over the fence (social distancing permitting) or on your blog.

In fact, share it with everyone you know as I think it's a great idea. And the more people who know about it, the more likely I am to make this work out.

And I know I said you don't need to give money to help me, but I'd love it if you did. Please sponsor me today and help make this happen. 

Choose reward

Pledge £1 or more

Select this reward if you just want to donate to the project without receiving a reward.

5 claimed

Pledge £20 or more

If you sponsor me £20 then I will email you an 'unboxing' video - when the 3D printer arrives, I'll film it being set up in the Makerspace in the new Manchester Engineering Campus. I'll give a brief overview of each of the printer's component parts and what it does.

0 claimed

Estimated delivery: 1 December 2021

Pledge £50 or more

If you sponsor me £50 then you'll receive the 'unboxing' video. I'll also 3D print your name and add it to a printer donor plaque which will be located next to the machine for all users to see. I'll be sure to send you a photograph of the plaque situated in the MECD Makerspace, so you can find your name on it.

1 claimed

Estimated delivery: 1 December 2021

Pledge £100 or more

If you sponsor me £100 then you'll receive the 'unboxing' video and your name will be added to the 3D printed printer donor plaque. I'll also 3D print your name in a colour of your choice and send it to you in the post to keep. Not only that - I'll also record the process of your name being 3D printed in the MECD Makerspace and send you the video.

0 claimed

Estimated delivery: 1 December 2021

Pledge £500 or more

If you sponsor me £500 then you'll receive the 'unboxing' video, your name will be added to the 3D printed printer donor plaque and you'll get your name printed in 3D for you to keep. But rather than me printing it and posting it to you, I'll invite you to come onto campus to visit the MECD Makerspace. I'll teach you how to 3D print your own name. You'll still get the video recording too.

0 claimed

Estimated delivery: 1 December 2021

Pledge £1000 or more

If you sponsor me £1,000 then you'll receive the 'unboxing' video, your name will be added to the 3D printed printer donor plaque and you'll get invited to come to campus and print your name in 3D for you to keep. For such a generous contribution, I will personally guarantee that your name will be the first thing that is ever printed using the new machine.

0 claimed of 1

Estimated delivery: 1 December 2021