• Student from Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School takes top prize in The Big Bang Competition
  • Engineering project is a £49 flat-pack 3D printer prototype
  • The Big Bang Fair culminates in Careers Day for families on Saturday 17th March

Josh Mitchell, 18, 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 that centres the development of an affordable 3D printer prototype called ‘The Plybot’.

In 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).

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.

Winners of The Big Bang Competition in 2017 have since gone on to enjoy a range of other achievements on the back of their successes at last year’s The Fair – including winning international awards; appearing on Springwatch; getting other young people involved in their citizen science project, taking part in conference presentations to industry professionals.

Congratulating the winner, Mark Titterington, Chief Executive of EngineeringUK which organises The Big Bang Competition said:

“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.

“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 at The Fair. It certainly bodes well for the future that the scientists, engineers and inventors of tomorrow are already producing such astute and creative project work.”

Josh, who picked up the UK Engineer of the Year 2018 title, said:

“The Big Bang Competition has been brilliant – I had such a fantastic time last year that I wanted to return this year with my project ‘The Plybot’. I’m delighted to have won and I hope the success continues into my Kickstarter campaign for The Plybot to get these low cost 3D printers into peoples hands.”

The winners will continue to show their projects to thousands of visitors to The Big Bang Fair at the NEC in Birmingham, which aims to inspire other young people to consider a career in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

The Fair is open to families on Saturday 17th March and young visitors will be able to explore all aspects of STEM, including a host of different hands-on activities, interactive workshops and stage shows.

Josh wins £2,000 in prize money to continue on his STEM journey as well as a trophy and certificate.

Free tickets to The Big Bang Fair are available now at

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