I love this idea! Would 3D - Printing be something you could use in your classroom? If so what types of activities would you do with your students. I think the machine that can do the 3D - printing is very impressive. I feel like students will be motivated to create new pieces of artwork or even things they could use in everyday life if possible.
I would like to have a classroom with computers with 3D design programs and a Makerbot. I can see myself and my students becoming inventors, designers or just creating 3D artwork for the sheer pleasure of it. A sample project might be to create a robot, action figure or to design a prototype of a car. First, students would have to demonstrate mastery of a 3D design program. It might be costly, but a wonderful learning experience that inspires critical thinking.
We BUILT a 3-D Printer last year in our after school engineering club. We got the Rap Man kit from Bits From Bytes: http://www.bitsfrombytes.com/content/rapman-32-3d-printer-kit . The kids really enjoyed assembling it, and now it serves many roles in my classroom. We will be using it this year in our classes to model and build windmill blade profiles for testing. My after school engineering program will be using it to make custom attachments for their underwater robots for a competition with the Navy in April. I like that the time from concept to reality is hours as opposed to days or weeks.
Wow, I am impressed. Do you use plastic and how much does it cost to purchase the material when you run out?
We use plastics. It comes in spools similar to weed-wacker string. Our printers use ABS and PLA (corn plastic). Spools of the media are about $70. With the software, you can manage the density of the layering to save on material and build time. With a dual head printer like we have, we can lay down a scaffold layer and then build the shell of our part on top of that - reducing material costs and weight even further. I have heard of people even using cheese whiz or chocolate to create their parts.
Thanks for posting. Sounds like your school is on the cutting edge! What is the average size of the objects you create and how much material comes on a spool? Do your students work on group or individual projects? I heard about chocolate. Neat! Does the machine needs to be cleaned out after using chocolate? That leads to a question on maintenance. Is the machine easy to maintain and what about color? Is your printer just one color and if so, what color? So many questions! I will have to find out if any schools in this area have a 3D printer so I can get a first hand look at one.
One of the devices I am looking at right now is Cubify (http://cubify.com/). For a little more than $1000, you can have a desktop 3-D printer. It is kid-friendly, operates over wifi, and prints in a variety of colors. For a few thousand dollars more, you can buy an industry grade 3-D printer from Z-Corp (http://www.zcorp.com/). A colleagues middle school in Pittsburgh bought one with a grant, and now does contract work for local businesses.
Check out Thingiverse (http://www.thingiverse.com/). It is an online community and repository of 3-D part files. I would call it the Flickr of the 3-D printing world. You can download files and print them, or share your designs with the world. Great for standard parts - why reinvent the wheel. Take it a step further with a 3-D scanning app for your iPhone or iPad. (http://www.123dapp.com/catch) With this app, kids can take pictures of an object and turn the photos into a 3-D file which can be printed. Its from Autodesk, the makers of AutoCAD, and is free. In Web 2.0 style, it also features web functionality too.
My nephew just designed a ring (jewelry) in a program called ZBrush and uploaded it to www.shapeways.com, similar to Thingoverse. You can choose from a variety of materials. He chose bronze. It is also a Web 2.0 app that allows you to buy/comment on other artists' work or post/create your own. It's in the blog. Thanks for sharing the other apps. I will take a look. Check out neat site called crayoncreatures.com that turns kids flat art into 3D toys.
Just checked out the 123Dapp.com. Wow, that is really amazing! I will bookmark that app and show it to my students. There is a lot of really fun and creative stuff you can do with 3D printing! Thanks for the info on the Cubify printer. I wasn't aware of it or I would have posted it in the hardware section of this blog. Have you looked at the Makerbot? What made you choose Cubify? Kid friendly and wifi sound great!
I just watched an episode of "Big Bang Theory," where Raj and Walowitcz purchased a 3D printer to create superhero dolls. The ensuing discussion that followed compared the cost of the machine to the value of its creations. It sounds like a pretty cool thing when you talk about chocolate. A cheaper way to replicate one of a kind objects. Example: car parts that are no longer made.
I saw that episode as well! It actually helped me understand what this concept is. I think it is such an interesting idea for the classroom if it were cost effective. Long-term I can see it being very cost effective in some classrooms, but short-term very expensive for a district to purchase.
At about $1,000, (see the previous post by our fellow classmate who is about to purchase one for his STEM classes) I feel that 3-D printing offers students opportunities for critical thinking skills, creativity and inventiveness that are lacking in many universities and upper grade schools. The money spent is well worth it. Some libraries are starting to feature 3D printing! Check out this link! http://libraries.dal.ca/locations_services/services/3d_printing.html Thanks for posting!I will try to view that episode of "Big Bang" to see how it is presented.