3D Printing and Education

3D printing works by starting with a digital model in a 3D CAD (Computer Aided Design) file and then creating a physical three-dimensional object. An object is scanned – or an existing scan of an object is used, which is processed by a piece of software known as a “slicer.” The slicer converts the model into a series of thin, 2-dimensional layers and produces a file with instructions (G-code) tailored to the specific type of 3D printer.

Benefits of 3D Printing in Education

Hands On Learning

Create learning models 300-400 times cheaper in your own classroom.

Industry 4.0

Prepare your students to win in the workplace of tomorrow.

Open Creativity

Students of all ages can plan, design and create all in a single day.

Monetisation

Many sectors actively seek 3D print sites for projects such as COVID prevention.

3D printing FAQs

How does 3D printing work?

3D printing’s use in education is a matter of bringing objects out of the computer screen and into the real, a physical world – and then into the hands of students for inspection, analysis, and other processes that benefit from physical manipulation.

3D printing works by starting with a digital model in a 3D CAD (Computer Aided Design) file and then creating a physical three-dimensional object. An object is scanned – or an existing scan of an object is used, which is processed by a piece of software known as a “slicer.” The slicer converts the model into a series of thin, 2-dimensional layers and produces a file with instructions (G-code) tailored to the specific type of 3D printer.

The 3D printer applies filament to the print bed 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 from the original CAD file.

How can 3D printing be applied in classrooms?

Here are just a few examples of how schools and students can use a 3D printer in the classroom:

  • History students can print out historical artifacts to examine
  • Graphic Design students can print out 3D versions of their artwork
  • Geography students can print out topography, demographic, or population maps
  • Chemistry students can print out 3D models of molecules
  • Biology students can print out cells, viruses, organs, and other biological artifacts
  • Math students can print out 3D models of problems to solve

These are some of the ways 3D printing technology is bridging the gap between the physical and the digital worlds – find what you need on the screen, then print it into existence.

Is 3D printing cost efficient?

The average educational model will cost anywhere from $90 for a primary school model to $3000 for a university model.
The average cost to print a 3D model is between $0.20 and $6 in raw materials and power costs.

With the cost of 3D printers becoming more and more affordable, they are no longer just another technological gadget for students to play with but are now an important and useful educational tool. They make both teaching and learning more interesting and engaging.

3D printing is one tool that helps students conceptualise and visualise their designs as they develop their work from the development stages of a sketch to the final product.

What do most students think about 3D printing?

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 from concept 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.

How does 3D printing assist in general 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 visualisation. 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.

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. This builds students’ confidence and teachers enjoy the results of having self-motivated, self-confident students.

3D printing combines both science and art, which most students and adults have never experienced in their lives. By learning how to troubleshoot and solve 3D printer scientific problems, students learn to practice persistence and endurance in overcoming difficulties whilst increasing their ability to create a winder range of models. This can translate to helping students overcome challenges in real world situations.

How can 3D printing complement our curriculum?

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.

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 in STEAM 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.

3D printing and COVID-19

The rapid spread of COVID-19 has put many healthcare providers under great strain as they provide treatment and care to affected patients. 3D printing technology is used to support medical device manufacturers with 3D printed components in either plastic or metal materials to help ease supply chain issues for critical care devices such as ventilators and certified face masks. 3D printing enabled organisations to providing solutions to unmet and urgent needs at the point of care. Examples include:  engineering and printing support for personal protective items, manufacturing capabilities for ventilator valves, face mask protection for the general public and medical education resources for lung ultrasound procedures.

SAMPLE WORK:

Title:

3D Cow’s Heart

Services used:

Photogrammetry
3D Modelling
Videography
Web Development

Purpose:
Majority projects are the IP of the client and not for distribution. We created this model in 8 hours to showcase the services on offer and the quality of our output. This model represents a 5 out of 10 for the detail of our output.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW IN HD

Please be aware of the following when viewing our model:
– This is a real Cow’s heart from a butcher.
– This model be viewed in VR/AR
– The object is 7mb-10mb in size.
– The rendering time will depend on your device/computer,
– The quality of the render can be changed by clicking on the “Quality” button in the bottom right.
– You can zoom and spin using your mouse by clicking and dragging or scrolling in. On phone use your fingers and pinch to zoom in.

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