By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki
Are you experimenting with 3D printers in your classroom? While 3D printing technology has been around since the 1980s, it’s only become commercially viable (read: affordable) in the last few years. For those unfamiliar with 3D printers, they are a form of manufacturing that takes three-dimensional image files and “prints” them into physical objects using a variety of materials, typically plastic.
A handy resource for teachers and students is Teacher Christine Mytko’s blog Tales of a 3D Printer, which takes a look at the “fascinating potential of 3D printing and the process of getting there.” She has many useful resources listed on her site including:
Teen Crime Solvers Use 3D Scanning and Printing
There are so many ways to use 3D printers in the classroom! For example, a middle school in Richmond County Schools, North Carolina, is giving students hands-on experience in forensic science with their 3D Academy, which is equipped with an HDI Advance R1X 3D scanner from LMI, Geomagics software, 3D Max, and Cube X and Cube 3D printers from 3D Systems.
Students scanned evidence found at the “crime scene,” including a body, as well as finger, hand and shoe prints. The fingerprint was transformed into a virtual block in Cubify Sculpt and 3D printed using their Cube 3D printer. Read the whole story here.
According to this list from EduTECH, 3D printing can be used to demonstrate principles in subjects such as:
- Math – 3D print those equations.
- Art – 3D print necklaces and sculptures.
- Business and Economics – sell the 3D prints!
- History – compare 3D Printing to the production line and other manufacturing techniques.
- Biology – 3D print cells structures and viruses.
- Chemistry – 3D print molecules and proteins.
- Show how proteins and catalysts work by physically piecing the models together.
- Technology Studies – sit the printer next to the lathes and the welders – another way to make items.
- Computing Studies – how 3D Software works.
- Drama – Quick, we need some 3D Printed Masks!
- Home Economics – 3D Printing food is a form of Molecular Gastronomy.
How are you using 3D printer technology? We’d love to hear your ideas – please share below!