3D printer in a pizza box wins Cheshire student title of UK Young Engineer of the Year

Congratulations Josh Mitchell. The 18-year-old student from Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School in Cheshire has been awarded the UK Young Engineer of the Year title at The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Competition for his ground-breaking project addressing the development of an affordable 3D printer prototype: ‘The Plybot’.

Through his project, Josh aimed to prove that it was possible to build a 3D printer for a fraction of the commercial cost, which was easy to assemble at home, and didn’t compromise on print quality. His final creation, which fits inside two 13-inch pizza boxes (unassembled), snaps together using just 18 bolts and produces print-quality that was indistinguishable from commercial printers, costs £49.

Josh reached the UK finals of The Competition having won a place in the online heats. Over 500 finalists from across the country were selected to show their ideas at The Big Bang Fair where ten were then shortlisted to pitch Dragon’s Den-style to a panel of VIP judges – Andrew Smyth (Rolls-Royce aerospace engineer and former Great British Bake-Off contestant), Jessica Jones (engineer and astrophysicist) and Alex Deakin (Met Office meteorologist and weather presenter). Josh wins £2,000 in prize money to continue on his STEM journey as well as a trophy and certificate

The Big Bang Competition is an annual contest designed to recognise and reward young people’s achievements in all areas of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), as well as helping them build skills and confidence in project-based work.

“The winner stunned judges with the insight, creativity and hard work that went into their brilliant entry. This innovative project was an extremely impressive piece of engineering that makes Josh a worthy winner of this year’s award. I’m hopeful that seeing what they’ve achieved will encourage young people across the UK to enter next year’s competition,” said Mark Titterington, Chief Executive of the competition organiser EngineeringUK. “While it’s easy to see why this project was a hit with judges, I have been blown away by the quality of entries from all of our finalists – both in terms of the work that went into them and the way they showcased that work with such confidence. It certainly bodes well for the future that the scientists, engineers and inventors of tomorrow are already producing such astute and creative project work.”