Chris Kalogroulis was crowned Intermediate Engineering Winner at The Big Bang Competition Finals 2017 after showcasing his work at The Big Bang London 2016. Find out more about Chris’ journey and his future plans. 

Hi, I’m Chris Kalogroulis. I am 16 and have just started my A levels at Sutton Grammar School studying maths, further maths, physics and design and technology product design. I am also the designer of Stackamals, a project that has taken me on an amazing journey including winning at two national competitions. I have now just launched my product on Kickstarter and am hoping to go into production in October in time for Christmas.Stackamals products available

Stackamals are 3D animal models made by stacking layers of birch plywood together to create stunning models. They contain hidden storage held together by magnets and come in easy to assemble kits.

I first designed Stackamals in 2015 as part of a D&T project at school. My teacher, Ms Andrews, encouraged me to enter the Technology, Design and Innovation challenge hosted by The Manufacturing Technologies Association. I won my age category and I had such great feedback that I decided to make it more than just a school project. I spent the next 9 months developing it further by increasing the product range, paying more attention to the design from a consumer and a manufacturing perspective and preparing for The Big Bang Competition 2017.

That was another incredible experience. Having entered the Competition through The Big Bang London 2016, I won the Intermediate Engineering award at Finals hosted at The Big Bang Fair in Birmingham. Thanks to the fantastic reception at The Fair from the many visitors at my stand and the encouragement I got from the judges who commended my product for its commercial viability I decided to take the next step and launch my product.

Chris with Stackamals at The Big Bang Competition Finals 2017

After the Finals, I took a break to study for my GCSEs, then spent the summer working hard to finalise the designs for manufacture, source a factory in the UK and prepare my Kickstarter campaign. I was able to use some of the prize money from The Big Bang Competition to pay for the initial factory samples which was a real boost to the project.

My campaign has just gone live on Kickstarter which is both exciting and nerve wracking!  Fingers crossed it will be a success and I can start production at the end of October in time to deliver Stackamals for Christmas. Please help me by spreading the word especially on Twitter!

If you are at all interested in engineering or you have creative ideas of things you want to make, I would really encourage you to find out more and give it a go. There are some amazing opportunities out there and so many people who are keen to help and encourage more young people to go into engineering. I have been amazed at all the help, support and encouragement I have had along the way. Why not think about applying to The Big Bang Competition or the TDI Challenge if you have a cool project? Also, you could apply for an Arkwright scholarship - they are fantastic.

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