Cambridge University 3D Printing Society

CU3D is a student society at the University of Cambridge dedicated to 3D printing and other types of rapid prototyping. We are located in the new Dyson Centre at the Engineering Department.

First Headline Sponsor: Stratasys!

With 2017 off to a brilliant start, CU3D are very pleased to announce Stratasys as our first ever headline sponsor! 
Stratasys is the global leader in 3D printing and additive solutions, materials and services – delivering speed, innovation, performance and customisation. Stratasys solutions nclude: Makerbot, PolyJet, FDM and GrabCAD Software. 
We are looking forward to a strong 2017 with this new statement of confidence in the team. 
The technical support and expertise provided by Stratasys will be invaluable to our major projects - most notably our new cycling aerodynamics and disability charity projects as well as the development of our flexible prosthetic hand. The resources will also assist us planned outreach activities this year. 

Stratasys’ involvement with our team demonstrates how the 3D printing industry is committed to supporting worthwhile and innovative student projects. We hope to see other companies follow Stratasys’ lead in the coming year.  

CU3D end of year update

Since our founding at the beginning of this year, CU3D – The Cambridge University 3D Printing Society has come a long way. In this update we’ll give a quick outline of how our student run organisation has dedicated itself to 3D printing.

What we do

As a society, we try and find innovative solutions to problems using additive manufacturing. The projects we work on can be internally sourced or be partnered with industry. We have a diverse range of students from all engineering backgrounds who work on our projects on a week to week basis. Students who join our society need no prior knowledge about 3D printing as one of the main aims is to offer 3D printing and CAD training to help students develop their skills in design and manufacturing.

CU3D members in a design meeting 

CU3D members in a design meeting 

We also create an environment where students are encouraged to launch their own projects, of whatever size, which other members can get involved in. CU3D acts as a link between industry partners and a team of innovative students. 

Some projects we are working on

Prosthetic Hand – We are designing a prosthetic hand in collaboration with Open Bionics, a UK robotics startup. We are designing a passive prosthetic hand to be printed from flexible plastic on desktop printers. The aim is for the hand to be more robust and durable than any existing designs, so it can be distributed in developing countries.  
‘Aerocycling’ - a project working in collaboration with Professor Tony Purnell, the Head of Technical Development at British Cycling, from Cambridge University. The CU3D society are currently designing and manufacturing a poseable elbow for wind tunnel testing.   

James examining a print on one of our Ideawerk RS printers

James examining a print on one of our Ideawerk RS printers


One of our other core aims is to use our projects and skills to educate and promote STEM careers to school students, with a focus on improving the gender imbalance of students going into engineering. Next year we have planned outreach programs that challenge and engage budding engineers. These will be supporting existing outreach schemes run by the university, and we hope to develop our own stand-alone programs in the future.

Student 3DP Network

Across the country, we know other students would benefit from having similar societies in their universities. We are already working with the Oxford and Huddersfield 3D printing societies, and if you are a student interested by our society then be sure to get in touch with us.

Next year

The society continues to build as we move into 2017. We are looking forward to some new sponsor announcements soon, as well as keeping you updated with our progress on the major projects. CU3D is always looking for more collaboration, whether it be on projects, outreach or sponsorship. We are eagerly awaiting the opportunities that 2017 will bring. 

New Sponsor: MAGIGOO

Today we are proud to announce our new sponsor Magigoo. They produce an all-in-one 3D printing adhesive, which provides firm first layer adhesion of PLA and ABS plastics. Magigoo releases when the print cools down, leaving the print easy to pry off by hand.

Together with Magigoo, CU3D is looking to continue solving problems using 3D printing. Already Magigoo has allowed us to perform prints with no raft, on low-cost printers that are not otherwise capable of this. We have found for some prints having to manually remove a plastic raft is time consuming and damaging to the model, and Magigoo is a valuable addition to our printing methods.

CU3D at the TCT show in Birmingham

The TCT show is a two day annual conference in Birmingham where industry, enthusiasts and investors get together to explore and show off the latest in the world of 3D printing. CU3D president James Roberts is present for the full event and we are very much looking forward to seeing all the new and exciting products and technologies being presented. 


Everything from 3D printers the size of a small room to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles made largely with 3D printed parts are on display. There is a great variety of ideas being demonstrated. Some stands seem to be largely catering to professionals in industry, whilst others are showing off more pop cultural creations. We will make sure to keep you updated on everything that is going on with CU3D at the TCT.

Exploring the properties of PLA

In order to gain experience and find the best applications for our 3D printing projects we are exploring the structural and material properties of our main building block: PLA. As a long running open ended project this Michaelmas term we will be carrying out various tests to better understand how the material reacts to varying process temperatures and printing speeds. We also plan to carry out structural load testing by modelling and building scaled bridges and other structures.  

James checking a print on one of our Ideawerk RS printers

James checking a print on one of our Ideawerk RS printers