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  1. #1

    How would Students like to see 3D printer used in class?

    There is always so much talk about 3D printers making their way into classrooms. However, we never hear the students perspectives. I'm wondering how students would like to see 3D printers used in the classroom. All ideas would be great, as I try and convince some teacher friends to get a Makerbot for their classrooms.

  2. #2
    My son has been trying to convince some of the educators at his school to get a few MakerBot printers. He wants to use it for art class to print out designs he makes on CAD. However it's also great for engineers, mathematicians, and science classes. Heck its even good for history (imagine printing out ancient buildings or statues). There are endless uses.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by kanningphish View Post
    My son has been trying to convince some of the educators at his school to get a few MakerBot printers. He wants to use it for art class to print out designs he makes on CAD. However it's also great for engineers, mathematicians, and science classes. Heck its even good for history (imagine printing out ancient buildings or statues). There are endless uses.
    How old is your son? I wonder what age or grade should they start. I am starting to get my 11 y/o nephew into electronics currently. I've done a few projects with him and will eventually get him his own Printrbot. I think the 3D printer has the largest learning curve so we haven't done any 3D projects with him yet. You have to deal with hardware problems, software problems, filament problems, adjustments, calibrations, troubleshooting like crazy, etc. Then you have to learn how to model things.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator RobH2's Avatar
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    What our society is starting to forget about is that "long learning curves" are something that should be sought after, not feared. Many people and students are adopting a life philosophy that if something isn't easy to figure out, it's not worth pursuing. That's dangerous for our society. While there may be somewhat of a learning curve in 3d printing, it is one that can teach so many things to young minds.

    It's the perfect culmination of Lincoln Logs, Erector Set, Legos and Playdough Factory layered on top of what drives all of their phones and Game Boys, programming. Even if you make nothing useful, you learn spatial relationships, construction fundamentals (if you build your machine), electrical fundamentals and a bit of coding. It's fun way to see these come together and appreciate the interaction. As I've watched my 25-year old son grow up I've watched a generation that lives in a 3D (game) world most of their spare time but they don't think in 3d and most can barely change a light bulb. Nothing ever gets fixed, it just goes in the trash and then a new order is placed on EBay. And he's a straight-A student, excellent athlete and is going to law school. I'm not bragging when I say that I'm just pointing out that kids who are inquisitive, plugged-in and successful, still are not learning spatial relationships and the thrill of learning curves. It's just not as important in our society as it used to be.

    So I for one say, as soon as a kid has the manual dexterity to turn a screwdriver and enough vocabulary and cognition to understand that the most fundamental concept of a battery delivering power to a bulb in a flashlight, then they are ready to build and learn to use a 3d printer. Don't think of it as a manufacturing tool or a way around buying phone cases on Amazon, think of it as an invaluable mental stretching and exercising technique. It's as educational as it is fun. And, it will give them skills that they'll take forward for the rest of their lives as they perfect their aptitude for problem solving and navigating our ever so complex society.
    Prusa i3/ Makerfarm (8" rod version) / Dual Hexagon Extruders with Itty Bitty Double Extruder, Simplify 3D Slicer.
    NVision4D http://nvision4d.com

  5. #5
    I agree with you, this is good idea but maybe for 15+ students, althought nowadays kids are very smart if it comes to new electronics gadgets. 3D printing industry is very promising so it would be good to teach student how does it work, improve their creativity skills and learn how to solve problems.
    But for architecture schools? Must have!

  6. #6
    Staff Engineer Davo's Avatar
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    Well said, RobH2.

  7. #7
    Well ,I am an architecture student. Now I am doing my master on architecture and also create models for 3d printing ( but not withing my school)
    In my opinion 3d printers should be widely used on the first years in workshops and classes to show that EVERYTHING is possible to create nowadays, becouse when I was on my first years when I had some very cool ideas the second thought was how can I make it and let go a lot of them just becouse I couldn`t do it with my hands.

  8. #8
    Engineer ralphzoontjens's Avatar
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    3D Printers should be used sparingly and wisely.
    At the industrial design school I worked at, students were introduced to 3D printing during a 40-hr class in the first or second year, including a visit to a 3D printing service facility. The number of 3D printers and access to them is limited, the high-end printers only being available to master students. There has to be good instruction on what type of prototyping process to use, before students limit themselves to just 3D modeling and printing, straying away from hand modeling which is enormously valuable as well both as creative tool and prototyping method. Then for creating experiential (visual+functional) prototypes there has to be good instruction on what type of process to use as well. Stimulating students to plan ahead and use an external service agency such as Shapeways for their prototypes works well too.
    Because education becomes more and more diverse, multidisciplinary and tailored to the individual student I vote for ideas such as awarding students with 'expert points' that they can trade in for using certain machines or doing special workshops, when availability is limited. It will also be an incentive to produce better work when that allows them to gain more points.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator RobH2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralphzoontjens View Post
    3D Printers should be used sparingly and wisely....
    Yea, I couldn't agree more. Sure, 3d printers are fantastic and I'm so thrilled we have them. When I was in school getting my degree in Industrial Design, 3d printers were decades away from being even invented. So we had no choice to learn other manufacturing techniques. We spent a great deal of time in the shop building our prototype models by hand with wood, plex, plaster and all kind of other methods. We could not 3d print part, we had to cast them or mill them on a milling machine. To this day, those shop skills have been some of the greatest life skills I ever aquired. I fear that modern ID students are spending more time printing than fabricating by hand. And I'm not sure that's a good thing.

    There are 1000's of other fabrication methods that aren't going away. 3d printing will never eliminate the vast majority of manufacturing methods. Knowing when to use it to take advantage of its unique capabilities is what's required and what makes it such a great addition to the toolkit.
    Prusa i3/ Makerfarm (8" rod version) / Dual Hexagon Extruders with Itty Bitty Double Extruder, Simplify 3D Slicer.
    NVision4D http://nvision4d.com

  10. #10
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    Decades away from being invented? You must be a real old timer, in your 20s in the 1950-60s or earlier?

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