3D printing is used in classroom to teach students how to 3D model. This gives students the skills needed for engineering design through the ability to rapidly prototype anything they can create in 3D. The current classroom curriculum is made up of ideas, projects, and activities for integrating 3D printers for learning in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
We teach the 3D design process as described below:
Brainstorming is an important part of improving upon ideas for projects. Students engage in a brainstorming session every work day for at least thirty minutes so they can come up with improvements for previous projects and also think up new ones.
When it’s time to start a project, we draw it out the print on graphing paper first and take all relevant measurements. As soon as we are finished with the sketch we use cardboard to make a prototype to examine and discuss possible changes and improvements. Upon approval, we move onto the 3D modeling phase.
The students primarily use Sketchup, a 3D modeling program, to draw 3D printed objects. Sketchup is used to create a 3D models by utilizing different tools on the software to create and modify any type of 3D object that is desired. From this program, students are then able to export their 3D models for 3D printing.
When the 3D files are completed, we upload the 3D models into slicing software, such as ReplicatorG, in order to prepare the model for printing. The students control the 3D printer through the program and touch up the settings for each print before uploading the completed print to a micro-SD card to place into the 3D printer. After this, the item can be printed!