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  1. #1

    Difficulties for using 3D printing in Schools

    Hi. I am conducting a small research about 3D printing and the challenges of this technology in schools (primary and secondary). It would be great to have all your opinions and comments about some few questions:

    1) If you are a teacher in a school working with 3D printing, what are the main difficulties for your students in using this tool?

    2) if you are a teacher in a school working with 3D printing, what are the main difficulties for you to conduct your teaching program or classes?

    2) If you are a director or administrative staff, what are the main difficulties for your institution in incorporating this technology for your teaching programs? Are they related with the high cost and number of machines necessary? Is it a matter about lack of skilled staff?


    Just share what are your thoughts around these questions.
    I am only interested in your opinion, I am not going to collect any of your personal information.

    Regards

  2. #2
    1) If you are a teacher in a school working with 3D printing, what are the main difficulties for your students in using this tool?

    None except access to more printers and supplies.

    2) if you are a teacher in a school working with 3D printing, what are the main difficulties for you to conduct your teaching program or classes?


    Lack of funding for equipment and materials.

  3. #3
    1) If you are a teacher in a school working with 3D printing, what are the main difficulties for your students in using this tool?
    Having the ability to generate their own structures. I've found it is easy to find a model or part someone else has made but getting students to turn their own ideas into something that is printable has been quite the task. We are using currently using a Dremel Idea Builder to print sculptures made using Sculptris. We have a Skanect with Structure Scanner that we use in conjunction with an iPad and iMac to process 3D scans which has generated a lot of student interest. It seems to me that students are more willing to scan something and then print it or scan something, modify it using Sculptris and then print it than generate something on their own.

    2) if you are a teacher in a school working with 3D printing, what are the main difficulties for you to conduct your teaching program or classes?
    Getting the students update with the technology in general. There seems to be a fair amount of file conversion or project progression while preparing for printing and the students seem to get lost if it is more than a two step process. We may scan and process something in Skanect, modify it in Sculptris and then run it through Meshmixer to optimize geometry or for support structures before we load it into Dremel's software for printing. I think it the ability to keep track of the workflow is troublesome for them. There is quite a different feel associated with a physical object versus a folder of electronic files.

    2) If you are a director or administrative staff, what are the main difficulties for your institution in incorporating this technology for your teaching programs? Are they related with the high cost and number of machines necessary? Is it a matter about lack of skilled staff?
    Cost is always an issue. I cannot speak on the number of machines because our experience so far has shown the more time intensive task is in generating an object or project. We have had our printer for about two years and it is used by a dedicated group of individuals. It has been presented more as an option for expression rather than a necessity of a particular class. The staff have become skilled in it use though the software options can be dizzying.

  4. #4
    Owlie what grade levels are you teaching. I teach High School and after a quick dink around in Tinkercad and then moving on to 123D my students have been able to come up with their own designs. In fact I insist on it. Otherwise they'd be printing stuff from Thingiverse most of the time.

    Also check this out....

    www.bhstechnology.com/robot complex yes but doable with juniors and seniors who have been through prior programming and CAD classes.

  5. #5
    I was actually just looking at Tinkercad. Our school is a two-year college that is heavily populated with student athletes. I teach a majority of science classes and have been wanting to use the 3D printer in conjunction with some of our honors projects. I actually just got a Prusa i3 kit so I could learn how everything works and then help the students, now that it's up and running I'm trying to figure out what software to use apart from what the art classes are doing.

    That robot blog is pretty cool, I actually used a Robotics Shield Kit from Parallax for my bio class last semester as an introduction to programming and robotics in relationship to evolution and how we could model evolutionary process through design progression with the robot. Most of the kids I work with have never seen a line of code or dabbled in CAD like programs.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Tekcruzer View Post
    1) If you are a teacher in a school working with 3D printing, what are the main difficulties for your students in using this tool?

    None except access to more printers and supplies.

    2) if you are a teacher in a school working with 3D printing, what are the main difficulties for you to conduct your teaching program or classes?


    Lack of funding for equipment and materials.
    Thanks for your answers, Tekcruzer. Can I ask you a bit of more information?
    1) From your first response. How many printers do you have and for how many students?
    2) From your second response. How much do you spend monthly for materials (ABS, PLA)?

  7. #7
    Thanks very much owlie. Your answers are very interesting.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Bitacovir View Post
    Thanks for your answers, Tekcruzer. Can I ask you a bit of more information?
    1) From your first response. How many printers do you have and for how many students?
    2) From your second response. How much do you spend monthly for materials (ABS, PLA)?
    We have 3 Printers:

    Makerbot 2
    Cubify Pro Trio
    Prusa i3 Mk2

    1.
    The Cubify has been a non-starter and doesn't get used at all these days. It has issues that we just don't have the expertise to deal with and Cubify support has been lack lustre. The Makerbot got worked to death and really needs ditching.....it was a good workhorse while it lasted. The Prusa i3 is marvelous, the best 3dPrinter I have ever worked with and this is the cheapest printer we have bought - go figure. The printers serve 30-40 students a semester.

    2. We have a class fee of $20 that students pay which goes towards consumables that they use directly. A class budget is meager and nowhere near enough. So I have to limit the students to the number of models they can print out. Imagine telling a student you can only write on 20 pieces of paper a semester - that's how I feel. US Education is underfunded in key areas and over funded in the realms of administration and mandates from State and Federal. We mostly use PLA but have used ABS and with the Prusa we have an expanding range of Wood, Copper etc. I can't tell you how much we spend per month and there are two numbers here. One "How much would be needed for the classes to be effective and no-restrictive to students?" - I'd guess about $200 - $300 including upkeep of printers and miscellaneous items. Question two "How much do we have to spend a month?" - $50

  9. #9
    Engineer-in-Training ralphzoontjens's Avatar
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    1) If you are a teacher in a school working with 3D printing, what are the main difficulties for your students in using this tool?
    Students at the design faculty I worked at were are well versed in 3D design, often a 3D printer is something students even invest in.
    One of the reasons that they do is the difficulty in planning and reserving a printer at the faculty, especially when at the end of the semester there is a gold rush for having their prototypes printed at the faculty's high-end printer. Another task is to well advise and control the printability of prototypes, and the reasons why they are using the 3d printer.

    2) if you are a teacher in a school working with 3D printing, what are the main difficulties for you to conduct your teaching program or classes?
    Some of the 3D models I worked on were very advanced and required a lot of editing before being well printable that took much more time than planned.

  10. #10
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    As it was said before
    Quote Originally Posted by Tekcruzer View Post
    Lack of funding for equipment and materials.
    That is the main issue

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