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  1. #1

    What grade students and 3D Printers appropriate for?

    I'm wondering what age / grade in school, 3d printers are appropriate for? My little one wants to try and convince his teachers that they need a 3D printer in their classroom. However, his friends parents disagree and think that they are too young. My son is currently in 4th grade. Is that too young?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by EveryDayIDream View Post
    I'm wondering what age / grade in school, 3d printers are appropriate for? My little one wants to try and convince his teachers that they need a 3D printer in their classroom. However, his friends parents disagree and think that they are too young. My son is currently in 4th grade. Is that too young?
    TBH, I'd say 15+ maybe 18+ but that's just me, so you'll get away with adult responsibilities. Just anyone can do stupid things such as accidentally putting your fingers/hands on the hotend/heatedbed. You don't want to end up calling the school for complaining about child/teen safety.

    Also, think about amount of time/money invest into these thing. Who would be doing the repair/maintenance if something were happening?(As I child I recall myself to love breaking things) Who would be supervising the child to make sure they don't start getting too closed to the hotends with their hands? Who would do the support removal that is annoying as hell!

    That's my thought. I got used to have overprotecting parents.

  3. #3
    agree, 3d printing not very difficult to operate but still need some professional knowledge and skills.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Geoff's Avatar
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    My kids were using the flashforge at 7 years old and making their own models in 123d sculpt. It's not something they would just go and do, because they know it's daddy's machine, so they have always had adult supervision. I just do the hard stuff, bed levelling etc for them.

    My eldest just turned 9, and I built her a purple kossel mini, and am building a bright pink one for my youngest daughter. By the time my kids get to high school, I want them to be way ahead of the class. This isn't a technology fad after all. I only wish it existed when I was back at school in the 80's because X/Y felt tip pen plotters were no where near as interesting!

    the Kossel is a great build for kids, no heat bed (by default) low power consumption, quick build time, Zprobe so no bed levelling really to do.. they are such a great design.
    Insanity, just insanity.

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    Super Moderator RobH2's Avatar
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    I think that if properly supervised, there is no reason 10-year olds can't learn how to use 3d printers. There are plenty of 8-year olds who know not to touch hot stoves, etc., and are mature enough to understand safety and cause and effect. Sure, you can get a nasty burn from a printer, but nothing life threatening. And, I don't care how young you are, if you get burned once, it's unlikely you'll make that mistake again.

    The important thing is to get kids involved in technology as soon as possible. The more years they have to interact with the technology, the better they can think outside the box by the time they are in their early teens. If we wait till they are teenagers before we expose them to these technologies, then they really don't get rolling and innovative until the end of high school.
    Prusa i3/ Makerfarm (8" rod version) / Dual Hexagon Extruders with Itty Bitty Double Extruder, Simplify 3D Slicer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobH2 View Post
    I think that if properly supervised, there is no reason 10-year olds can't learn how to use 3d printers. There are plenty of 8-year olds who know not to touch hot stoves, etc., and are mature enough to understand safety and cause and effect. Sure, you can get a nasty burn from a printer, but nothing life threatening. And, I don't care how young you are, if you get burned once, it's unlikely you'll make that mistake again.

    The important thing is to get kids involved in technology as soon as possible. The more years they have to interact with the technology, the better they can think outside the box by the time they are in their early teens. If we wait till they are teenagers before we expose them to these technologies, then they really don't get rolling and innovative until the end of high school.
    That does not guarentee your neighbour or some other parents will likely let this goes smoothly. And the fact that they are young, you can't expect the next stupid moves they are going to do. Heck even adult do stupid mistakes from time to time!

  7. #7
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    I burnt my finger on the hotend once, the kids will figure it out. I'd say 6th grade will be fine. I bought an M3D for my kids high school, and I hope everyone gets some time on it next year.

  8. #8
    We held a summer camp for 7-13 year olds and used the Afinia 3D printer for the first time. The kids designed in Tinkercad and then saw their small (very small) models printed out. They took them home on Fridays. The camps were one week and the designs had to be finished by Wednesday 12 noon. 30 campers each week. We could print on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday morning and have things ready to go on by Friday at 12noon. The students learned measurements, density, overhangs, rafting, support, and some basic design principals. They loved it. A few of the kids advanced to using Autodesk Inventor. That was unexpected, but our facilitators wanted to keep all the kids engaged and challenged and the campers got the hang of some basic principles in inventor. I guess it depends on the nature of the teachers. If they are willing to let the kids explore, then I say go for it.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    given that even tiny kids seems to spend their entire lives playing on tablets and minecraft (essentially design software tagged onto a weird game) I'd say any kid who can play minecraft will have no problem designing for a 3d printer.

    There are some great apps and simplified programs around now - so basic designs aren't an issue.

    My flashforge ceator is set up now so that I only bed level when changing print temps and with the pla I use I rarely change temps. 60c bed and 210 extruder wrks for almost every pla type.
    So it just works, print after print after print.
    I just don't need to mess with it. So kids wouldn't either.

    It's got to the point that I don't envy anyone with auto bed levelling. It'd get used maybe once every 3-4 months. Why bother :-)

    It's as idiot proof as you could get it (well it has to be really ;-)

    So yeah - the only age limit I see is their ability to use the design software.

    Love the idea of a 3d print camp.

    As for support removal - Stop printing things that need support and the problem goes away :-)

    teach them to design for 3d printing right from the get go and you won't ever need supports.
    Last edited by curious aardvark; 08-17-2015 at 09:58 AM.

  10. #10
    Engineer-in-Training ralphzoontjens's Avatar
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    I'd say to get kids involved with 3D printing at about 8 years of age. They will understand in basic terms how the machine works, what they can do with it and what they can not do with it. However I would let only adults touch the machine and keep it out of reach for students.
    When students are 14-16 years I would have them independently use basic 3D printers with decent instruction, and only for specific purposes.

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