The maker movement empowers our students to make, tinker, invent, create and be innovative as they work to solve new problems. One tool that is becoming more prevalent in the world of making is the 3D printer because it provides students with a tangible opportunity to take an idea through the design process by digitally designing a model, printing a prototype and then refining their work through a series of trial and errors to better understand why and how their idea worked.
3D printing by definition is the process of creating 3-dimensional objects by applying, or adding material in successive layers through the control of a computer. Because of this additive process, it is also referred to as additive manufacturing. It starts with the design of an object using 3D modeling software and then exported to the STL format. This file is then transferred to the computer that directly controls the 3D printer and imported into slicing software where it is sliced into 2D layers, which lets the printer know exactly how to print each layer.
Using 3D printers in the classroom could mean a lot of things depending on the age of your students and the course. It could mean printing out topographical maps in geography, artwork, science and math concepts, and prototypes for engineering, architecture or auto lab students. By giving our students the ability to utilize 3D printing in the classroom, we are helping bring their creations and learning to life. The possibilities are endless!
3D Design Tools
When printing with 3D printers, chances are that you are going to print some mistakes causing you to question what went wrong. Was it user error or technical malfunction? What caused the failed print? How could you fix this in the future? What feedback would you give the designer? To help identify fixes and make some possible adjustments to correct the problem, use the helpful resources below.
Learn On Your Own
- 3DVinci Teacher Guide: Sketch Up Classroom
- 9 Amazing Ways Teachers Can Use 3D Printing With Math and Science
- City X Project - CCSS aligned open source project that is designed to encourage kids to take a realistic approach to 3D design. There is an immersive storyline to tie together the design process and make the process feel authentic. City X Project Information Packet and City X Project Tool Kit
- Brookwoods 3D Design Problem Bank Project
- Mark Simmons Sabine Pass ISD's Project Library
- National Institute of Health 3D Print Exchange
- Smithsonian Institute's 3D Design Collection
- Thingiverse Education
- Ultimaker Education Lesson Library
- Ultimaker Design Engine Starter Pack and Eight Week Design Challenge