Design Engineering aims to develop students’ understanding of engineering principles including 3D design/manufacture, modern materials, electronics and problem solving as well as developing the ability to use programmable components to solve real-world problems. All students study Design Engineering in Years 7-9. Design Engineering is available as an option subject at both GCSE and A-Level.
Students start the year looking into safe working practices in a workshop and the Health and Safety expectations. Students are then introduced to SolidWorks (an industry-standard 3D modelling package) used to design a Plywood storage box needed to house their project components during KS3, they are also introduced to laser cutting and engraving to personalise their box project. The next project sees students learn how to drill a PCB, identify components and solder them correctly and safely in a soldering license project.
After this, students are introduced to electrical circuits, focusing on LEDs through the building of an LED torch project which is housed an acrylic body. Students then move onto a cam box mechanisms project, learning about the cam as a mechanism and different types of motion. They then design and build their own bespoke cam box project. A door buzzer project follows, introducing the students to the transistor as a switch for electronic circuits as well as shaping plastics using a strip heater to form the body of the project.
Students start the year by recapping Health and Safety practice in a workshop and then embark on a series of challenges. These challenges include PCB soldering fault finding, microcontroller coding and strip board circuit design. The next project sees students design a microcontroller circuit diagram, looking at analogue vs digital inputs and possible output options. Student then identify and solder the PIC license PCB. This is then placed into their own bespoke housing design. After this, students work on a digital die project, looking at random vs pseudo-random coding. A series of mechanisms are then introduced to follow on from the cam box project, looking at different lever, pulley and gear ratios. Students learn how to complete mechanical advantage calculations.
A 555 fan project is next, in which students are introduced to the 555 timer circuit and how it is used to produce pulse width modulation (PWM) to control the speed of a DC motor. Next, the students make a 555 piano project, again, using the 555 timer to now produce different frequencies to drive a loud speaker and produce different tones. All of these are housed in bespoke bodies.
Students start the year by recapping both Health and Safety practise in a workshop and SolidWorks before working on a bedside light using high-powered LEDs, which they design independently. The next project sees students solder together a programmable alarm system as they learn about microcontroller programming with analogue components. After this, students work on a timing circuit to teach them about the 555 timer chip.
An electric vehicle project is next, in which students work to design and then iteratively improve a small motorised buggy to make it as fast as possible. The year finishes with an introduction to more advanced circuit programming techniques using the Arduino development platform.
Years 10 and 11
Students follow the Edexcel GCSE Design Technology: Design Engineering (1DT0) specification, full details for which are available here. The course focuses on engineered and electronic products, with students learning how to design and manufacture digital systems using a variety of methods including 3D printing and laser cutting in our well-equipped engineering labs.
Years 12 and 13
Students follow the OCR Design Technology: Design Engineering (H404) specification, full details for which are available here. Similar to the GCSE, the course focuses on engineered and electronic products, but with a greater focus on industrial processes and practices. At A-Level, students work commonly makes use of Arduino technology and more advanced components such as OLED displays and bi-polar stepper motors.