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3D printing for education

Introduction

Learning is always easier with the right tools. 3D printing empowers teachers, educators, and students who want to bridge theory and reality by making objects that suit every situation! Indeed Implementing additive manufacturing in school is becoming more common. 3D printing in education can help students by offering endless solutions to different problems, For example, every architecture student wonders about making mockups of their projects- why not 3D print one straight from your computer! Or imagine how much more fun chemistry classes would have been if you actually could have touched the molecules. With 3D printing services like Sculpteo you don’t even need 3D printers in school, just upload your file.

Why and how is it relevant to use 3D printing in school? And when we are talking about school, are we talking about small children or grown students? We are here to help you get a clear vision of what additive manufacturing can do for the education system!

 

3D Printing for Education

3D printing in education: an overview

As you may know, a lot of industries are starting to use additive manufacturing. In order to use 3D printing, you have to understand it. The importance of 3D printing in professional degrees doesn’t have to be proven anymore. Applications are numerous, and 3D printing technologies are now used in a majority of industries for product development, production, tooling, or prototyping. 

In the near future, additive manufacturing will be present in even more industries and the role of education is to prepare students for the careers of tomorrow. Moreover, 3D modeling and 3D printers can easily bring any educational subject to life, using 3D printing builds strong practical skills like coding and design thinking. 

There are actually numerous advantages to the adoption of 3D printing in schools. What is the learning effect of the implementation of additive manufacturing is classrooms?

What are the benefits of 3D printing in education?

It adds a new dimension to the educational experience

Additive manufacturing allows complex ideas to live in the real world. That’s why 3D printing in educational programs is a true asset. Have you ever thought of including additive manufacturing in your lesson plans to make your school subjects easier to understand? 3D printing is the solution to give them life and allow everyone to physically manipulate complex ideas. Additive manufacturing makes the learning process easier, from primary education to university. 

 

It creates excitement and engages students

Thanks to 3D printing young students are encouraged to think independently and organize their workflow. Letting students use 3D printing is also letting them be in charge of a project from the 3D model stage to the final printing process. It helps them to be engaged and to learn some problem-solving skills by themselves! 

 

3D technologies are also rewarding students with quick and affordable results that motivate the students to work and grow. A whole 3D printing process requires several skills, from the creative process to some technical designing abilities. Don’t miss the opportunity to benefit from this educational technology for your students. 

It brings the professional world to your students

Students can print mechanical parts, architectural mockups, prototypes, art… Online 3D printing gives students -engineering students, design students, etc.- the chance to bring their project to life, quickly and in conditions simulating the professional world. Instead of spending time partnering with an outside company, you can use Sculpteo’s platform as an online educational tool and concentrate on other topics that matter. It will also help your students improve their critical thinking thanks to a practical approach to your subject.

 

Is it relevant to use 3D printing for grown students and also for primary schools?

Students can learn 3D modeling techniques and different 3D printing technologies. From engineers to designers or architecture students, they are confronted with 3D printing problematics.

 

But younger students can benefit from the advantages of additive manufacturing as well. 3D modeling software for kids exists, and are quite popular. It is showing that they can totally start creating 3D models and understand 3D technologies. These CAD design software are intuitive, objects can be 3D designed by young kids. It is enhancing their creativity, their curiosity and their digital knowledge! 3D printing is accessible to anybody, but you need the right tools and the right educational system for that. 

 

3D printed prototypes

Additive Manufacturing can also be used for more creative sectors of education such as food technology, for example to 3D model and 3D print molds and cutter templates. Design and engineering students would definitely find many uses for 3D printing in prototyping for product design, creating mechanical parts or even bringing to life the final products at a low-cost.

Concrete example: How can you use 3D printing at school?

Can 3D printing in the classroom be used in elementary school?

Yes! Mrs. Brown, a teacher from St. Stephen School, used 3D technologies to find and solve a real-world problem: her daughter’s foot issue. The toddler has a problem with her legs and has to use special straps to be able to walk.

Of course, as she grows and becomes more active she struggles more with the straps on her legs. They would make her feel uncomfortable, fall off and they were making it hard for her to play with other children. Ultimately they were a distraction for the girl to develop properly.

 

Mrs. Brown decided to introduce 3D printing lessons. She started talking with the students about real-world problems and how to incorporate 3D printing technologies. The 6 students decided to help her daughter by designing 3D printed clips. 

They had to think not only about the little girl’s comfort but also about safety measurements in cases such as swallowing the clip. Studying the straps and practicing on a doll, they came up with different solutions using 3D software to visualize their ideas.

 

Thanks to a 3D printer they had at school they were able to make prototypes and come up with the best design. The obvious benefits of 3D printing used for this project are the low cost and fast production time, but 3D printing for education allowed the young students to create fully functional parts to help the little girl overcome the disadvantages.

Science classes with 3D printed models

In Napa New Technology High School, 3D printing is widely used for different purposes. Teacher, Shawn Carlton, sees the potential of incorporating 3D printing in education. He emphasizes how 3D technology helps to develop different sets of skills, such as thinking outside the box, problem-solving, and many others. 3D printing stimulates creativity through different educational projects, it helps students to understand math and physics better, for example, the students can easily design complex models and 3D print them to help them understand the laws of physics.

 

Additive Manufacturing is also a very satisfying way of learning. The student has to first understand the task or work on solving the problem with his 3D designed model, and after weeks of designing and testing, they are rewarded with a 3D printed model. Such a way of learning is very motivating for the students as they can actually see the results of their hard work.

3D printed fossils of the University of Florida

The University of Florida is known for its investment in 3D printing for educational purposes. The University took fossils from the Florida Museum of Natural History’s digital collections. These fossils included bones from three-toed horses, giant ground sloths, and a Megalodon. Using these, the University was able to create replicas of them using 3D printing.

The creation of these 3D printed fossils encouraged students to use their brains differently.  Moreover, by using these 3D printed replicas of fossils, they were able to interact with fossils, in ways that would’ve normally been impossible.

How can Sculpteo help you with your educational projects?

Professional 3D printing is very complementary to the desktop 3D printer you can use in your classroom. It allows your students to push their experiments and projects further. More than 75 3D printing materials and finishes are available directly online and the cost for your 3D print is automatically calculated and displayed online. 

We are encouraging the adoption of additive manufacturing by schools. All schools and teachers willing to implement 3D printing in their program can contact us.

The use of 3D printing at school is really promising, and we can’t wait to partner with you on an educational project. Upload your 3D models directly on our online 3D printing service and get your parts in just a few days. 

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