To explain why we should teach children how to do 3D printing in schools and at home, we first need to understand what 3D Printing is all about.
What is 3D Printing?
Students can create physical three-dimensional objects using 3D Printers. The 3D printer applies the required combination of raw material (plastic, metal, rubber etc.) and then builds the object by adding one layer at a time, 2D layer by 2D layer, until it is completely designed and finished according to the design criteria. While the 3D model being printed may not be as intricate, durable, or functional as the real-world equivalent, it nevertheless is still a real thing that didn’t exist seconds before you printed it.
Why is material science important?
In the industrial world of 3D printing, materials are everything and the science is getting more advanced each. The days where we just tried to replicate traditional manufacturing options are long gone. Now we are playing to the strengths of the additive printing process and finding new alloys and compounds. They are stronger, more flexible and simply better. This is helping 3D printing move away from its roots as a rapid prototyping tool. The industrial world is not making templates anymore, we’re making a product that has to last. For instance, Lockheed Martin, the global aerospace and defense company, has even reported price reduction of its F-35 war plane’s Full Mission Simulator (FMS) unit by US$3 million per unit with the help of 3D printed parts.
Why St. Uriel Education teaches 3D Printing?
In education, visual objects from the smartphone or computer can be brought out and put into the hands of students – where they can inspect, analyze, or perform other processes which allow them to benefit from physical manipulation. Hence 3D printing bridges the gap between the digital world and the physical world.
With the cost of 3D printers becoming more affordable, they are not just another technological gadget for students to play with but are now an important and useful educational tool. They make both teaching and learning better. 3D printing is an excellent tool that helps students conceptualize and visualize their designs as they develop their work from the development stages of a sketch to the final product.
From the perspective of growth and development, future designers, engineers, and artists all will have been students who have been impacted by 3D printing. St. Uriel Education would like parents and educators to consider these 5 major benefits of 3D printing’s impact on your child’s education:
- Creates Excitement – 3D printing offers students the ability to experience their projects from the model stage to actual creation of the model. This creates both excitement and a better understanding of the design process as they gain hands-on experience it from conception to creation. The individual features are seen more clearly as the student builds the project layer by layer. Excitement also stems from the ability to explore details in reality, not just on a screen or in a textbook. 3D printing also brings the world of theory to the physical world where students can see and touch, opening up new possibilities for learning and activities.
- Complements the school Curriculum – No matter what curriculum is being used, 3D printing can help students and teachers work better. 3D printing elevates students from being passive consumers of information on a screen with no thought given to productivity. Unlike conventional classrooms where students are easily bored, they become active and engaged participants through the conception, design, and execution of their projects and interacting with the 3D printer and the teacher.
- Gives Access to Knowledge Previously Unavailable – Because most 3D printers are pre-assembled and plug and play, it is a fun cutting-edge technology for students to learn. Students learn that it is perfectly acceptable to fail on the first try and then try again in order to improve. As students begin to understand that failure is part of the process, they become less afraid to attempt and execute new and different ideas in life. St. Uriel Education recommends 3D printing to build resilience and the students’ confidence. Teachers and parents will enjoy the results of having self-motivated, self-confident students.
- Opens New Possibilities for Learning – An affordable 3D printer opens up unlimited learning opportunities for students. 3D printing provides students with opportunities to experiment with ideas, expanding and growing their creativity. It is not easy to have young students figure things out without the benefit of visualization. A visual learning environment improves their understanding of the world, being able to touch and see their projects. 3D printers open up new opportunities for presenting information to young students in an economical and efficient manner.
- Promotes problem-solving skills – The 3D printer provides a variety of learning experiences for students. They need to learn how different 3D printers work and how to operate them, and how to troubleshoot and solve problems. This is an art in which many students do not get to engage during the course of their normal studies. By learning how to troubleshoot and solve 3D printer problems, students learn to practice persistence and endurance in overcoming difficulties. This can translate to helping students solve their own problems in life as well.
Feeding students’ creativity skills can help develop a passion for original thinking and creativity that can later be applied in business. 3D printing promotes students achievements and also prepares them for a college education. They develop the confidence that allows them to pursue challenging courses such as those offered by St. Uriel Education for STREAM (Science Technology Robotics Engineering Arts Math) fields. As students explore and grow their imaginations, it cultivates innovation where the student creates their own unique 3D projects that can help train others as well as solve problems.
As you can see, 3D printing makes it possible for every student to dream bigger and better.
How is 3D Printing used in education?
In more ways that we can imagine! Here’re just a few examples:
- Engineering design students can print out prototypes
- Architecture students can print out 3D models of designs
- History classes can print out historical artifacts for examination
- Graphic Design students can print out 3D versions of their artwork
- Geography students can print out topography, demographic, or population maps
- Cooking students can create molds for food products
- Automotive students can print out replacement parts or modified examples of existing parts for testing
- Chemistry students can print out 3D models of molecules
- Biology students can print out cells, viruses, organs, and other critical biological artifacts
- Math students can print out “problems” to solve in their own learning spaces, from scale models to city infrastructural design challenges
How do we select the materials for 3D Printing?
How do we select 3D Printers for teaching?
There are basically two types of 3D Printers you can choose from:
- 3D Printers are printer-shaped equipment – that prints the 3D object using a design that you made on the computer using a design software,such as CAD (computer aided design) applications.
- 3D Printer Pens are much smaller and resembles a pen. This is especially useful to create free form shapes and objects.
So the first question we need to ask ourselves is, do we want the students to learn how to print out 3D objects using software, or do we want them to create free form 3D shapes and objects.
How do we select 3D Printers?
The price of 3D Printers can vary a lot. Some of the 3D Printers are basically white-labelled, meaning the brands are expensive because they are not designed or made by the brand owner. The size and weight of the 3D Printers will also cause the price to vary. St. Uriel Education recommends only buying from brand owners who owns the design through their own patents.
3D Printers typically use CAD software to create the 3D model from which they are then printed out as 3D objects. St. Uriel Education recommends choosing a 3D Printer that supports multiple CAD formats so that the students get to create better designs more conveniently.
3D filaments are materials used for 3D printing. Most of the 3D Printers have ABS / PLA as the filament type. In general, most people prefer PLA filaments. St. Uriel Education recommends 3D Printers that have both ABS / PLA filament options.
Due to the size, weight and pricing of 3D Printers, it can be cumbersome and costly if any part of the 3D Printer is damaged and requires servicing or replacement. St. Uriel Education recommends that you purchase extra accessories and replacements parts in advance if your supplier does not have full local warranty programs.
How do we select 3D Printer Pens?
Most 3D Pens come with a Temperature & Speed Control system. Speed Control boosts efficiency, accuracy and increases the comfort of drawing. Look out for pens that have both Temperature & Speed Control options.
A steady hand and a steady 3D Pen with a firm grip makes the 3D art cleaner and more accurate. The ergonomic design of the 3D Pen offers just that. Choose one that is not too bulky or slippery.
3D filaments are materials used for 3D printing. Most of the 3D Pens have ABS / PLA as the filament type. In general, most people prefer PLA filaments. St. Uriel Education recommends 3D Pens that have both ABS / PLA filament options.
Automatic shutdown feature turns the 3D Pen off if it’s left idling for too long. This feature prevents damage due to overheating. Choose a 3D Pen that has Auto Shutoff / Standby features.