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3D Design

A Level

someone hand drawing a design

Availability & Details

D&T Product Design, A-Level AF-DETEAL-D(0000)000

Alton Campus

Type of study
A Levels, Full Time

Academic Year 2023-24 (2 years)

Examination board

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This course is intended to provide you with the skills and knowledge to be successful when applying for ‘three dimensional’ design-based employment or degree courses e.g. Product Design, Industrial Design, Modelmaking, Craft, Furniture etc. But because the course is creative, technical and both practical and academic, it has also proved to be an excellent foundation for students with artistic, architectural or engineering intentions. You could, for example, design a film set if interested in Production Design, an outbuilding if interested in Architecture, or an electro-mechanical device if interested in Engineering. Alternatively, you could use your computer-aided design/manufacturing or production skills to gain employment after leaving HSDC Alton.

Designing uses a highly diverse set of skills and on this course, you will: research, analyse, summarise, define, plan, develop, prove, calculate, communicate, process, fabricate, test, evaluate and modify. When you have completed this course, you will have a digital portfolio as evidence of your broad skill set and management capability.

Whatever your aspirations, this course will provide you with the challenges, knowledge and positive experiences to move forward with confidence – this is the overwhelming feedback from our past students.

Students should normally have achieved at least five GCSEs at grade 9-4. In addition you must have a GCSE grade 5 or above in a creative or technical subject and a GCSE grade 4 or above in Mathematics.

Year 1

  • Project: To design and prototype a ‘unique yet appropriate’ product for an identified group of users. In this project you will study how people interact with products, then you will draw up concepts, use CAD to communicate and simulate products, and model and prototype the parts of a proposal.
  • Study: You will test material properties then learn about forming, joining and finishing processes for a range of materials e.g. casting, welding, plasma cutting, routing, milling, 3D printing etc.

Year 2

  • Project: To design and prototype a product, or space, for an identified client or group of users. In this project, you will analyse situations and plan a project, generate and develop solutions, produce a one-off or prototype and then test its feasibility.  
  • Study: You will gain an understanding of the range of constraints, influences and opportunities that impact the work of designers e.g. culture and society, industrialisation, sustainability, new technologies, human characteristics etc.

All lessons are undertaken in a large and modern purpose-built ‘design and make’ space, where you can move from designing to making when you are ready. Everything from a modern CAD suite, layout space, workbenches and traditional and modern machinery is all combined in the one space. This is successful because combined with integrated extraction are ceiling-mounted air filtration units and a downdraught (dust catching) workbench that retain high standards of air quality at all times.
You will be encouraged to develop independence in both thought and action, but staff are extensively available to support you with your work when you need more time or another opinion.

Learning is achieved through project work and topic-based activities. Projects help you to gain confidence, design capability and practical skills and allow you to focus on your interests.

50% course work: Design project
30% exam: Materials and Manufacturing
20% exam: Social, Moral, Environmental and Economic Issues Associated with Design

£35 for core textbook.
Students will need to cover the cost of materials and resources used in the production of models and prototypes.

Students who successfully complete this course can, and have, moved onto Higher Education or into employment along the following design-based routes: product designer, industrial designer, product engineer, model-maker, craft-worker, production designer, draughtsperson, CAD operator, interior architect, architect, technologist, ergonomist etc.

You will devise a ‘real world’ project whilst working with a client or potential users. You will be working with a highly experienced teacher and technician. The teacher also works as a freelance CAD designer and the technician has industrial experience working as a machinist, fabricator, welder and project manager.

Largely inspired by my College Product Design lessons: I went on to study Product Design at Bournemouth University; worked as a CAD designer at KBR, designing an oil rig for BP; worked at a Hampshire architects again doing CAD design; spent a few months doing traditional boat building in Plymouth; and most recently have come back around to furniture making and am working at Jan Hendzel Studio in Woolwich, London, making bespoke high-end furniture. So far I am loving it and am looking to develop further in this; it's great to be back doing work which I enjoyed most during my years of education.

Tom Jordan, Design (3D) A Level

I have just finished my third year at Bristol Uni doing Mechanical Engineering, I have actually just got an internship for this summer at BMW/MINI which is exciting. I will be back in Bristol next year to complete my Masters then hopefully have a job after that! I often think about my A Level DT project, it's really useful to look back on and especially when going to interviews, it’s really great to show them something I actually made.

Nicky Thompson, Design (3D) A Level