News story: Seven-year-old’s invention brought to life by Dstl scientists

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A seven-year-old boy has had his dream submarine design made into reality by apprentices at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).

Jacob Bland, from Suffolk, drew his water-propelled design and wrote to Dstl asking if they would like to make it and use it for “sneaking and spying”.

With the drawing, Dstl’s scientific apprentices worked up the design and printed out a 3-D model using their own 3-D printer. The work provided an excellent opportunity for the apprentices to take a concept design and produce an actual model, which contributes to their National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) evidence.

Jacob’s dad, Matthew Bland, said:


We are overwhelmed by the thought and effort put in by staff at Dstl. Jake was absolutely made up about the submarine, and it hasn’t left his side yet.

He is already integrating your suggestions for improvements into a revision, and talking about his plans for a battleship to accompany the submarine. Thank you for everything you did for Jake; it’s great encouragement for his imagination.

19 year-old Verity Jackson has been an engineering apprentice at Dstl for two years and supported by the Platform Systems team within Dstl, she was able to create the 3-D mini yellow submarine.


Apprentice Verity Jackson checks the final model of the sub

Verity said:


It was really great to be able to reproduce this for Jacob. It was a bit tricky and took quite a bit of work to get the model ready to print, but we are all thrilled with the outcome and equally thrilled we were able to bring Jacob’s drawing to life. On the plus side, the mini project will help towards my qualification.

Damien Holden from Platform Systems, said:


It sounds like Jacob has really thought about his design. We will always need talented, creative people – perhaps Jacob will come to Dstl as an apprentice himself one day.

If you’ve been inspired by Jacob’s design, and would like find out more about working at Dstl visit Dstl’s recruitment page

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