4 Exciting Ideas for Using 3D Printing in School Education
Ever wondered how a 3D printer works?
Every project that has ever been 3D printed will consist of the following steps that need to be followed. Firstly a digital copy of the tool or object you are making needs to be created. This digital model is the blueprint of the physical object you are trying to create. This digital model has to be then rendered into wafer-thin 2D layers.
A traditional 3D printer can be imagined as an inkjet printer that is used through a computer. The layers of the object you are printing are built up only one layer at a time. The method employed by a 3D printer is called Fused Deposition Modelling or FDM.
Using computer codes such as G codes, which is a machine language or a language that only your printer understands, the printer changes a 3D CAD model into several 2D models that are layered one on top of the other.
Generally, only plastics are used for 3D printing. However, 3D printing technology has come a long way since its inception. Modern printers can also work with metals for some very expensive components.
A job given to a 3D printer can take from 4 to 18 hours to complete, based on the size of your printer as well as the size of the 3D printed object. Once done, there is usually some post-processing that can be performed in order to attain the perfect surface finish.
What are the advantages of 3D printing?
The reason 3D printing is such an effective additive machining process is that it possesses some advantages that just can’t be matched by subtractive machining.
3D printing comes at a lower price and allows you to build complex products at a cheap rate
3D printing allows creators to manufacture complex shapes at no additional costs. There are specific shapes that just cannot be produced through any other processes. Due to the additive nature of 3D printing, the complexity of the job doesn’t affect the costs. The only factor that determines the value of the product is how much material is required.
Due to the versatility of 3D printing technology, prototyping becomes easier.
This form of manufacturing is ideal for projects where rapid prototyping is a prerequisite. Parts made by a 3D printer can be synthesized overnight, and due to this quick speed, the entire design process is fast-tracked. In addition to aiding a fast design process, 3D parts are also heavily customization. This means that every product that comes out of a 3D printer is user-specific without costing a single penny more.
What are the different exciting ways that 3D printers can be used in Education?
The scope for 3D printing in Education is virtually endless. By its nature, Education needs to be more hands-on. However, traditional Education has always required there to be a more theoretical approach where students sit and listen to the teacher. The problem with the old approach to education is that it kills creativity and forces students to conform to only what is taught inside the classroom. If we are looking to educate the next generation of students and prepare them for the future then old ways such as the chalkboard approach need to supplemented with experiential learning.
Here are some ways that Education can be improved and made more interesting using 3D printing.
Engineering can be made more immersive through the easier prototyping:
If there were one field where 3D printing technology would be most useful, it would be engineering. There are so many various topics that are just taught to students without them even seeing a model in application.
Engineers also have a need to test their models before applying in the field. During this development phase, quick prototyping is an absolute must.
3D printing can be used in schools for more hands-on learning experience:
With the help of 3D printing in schools, certain theoretical and memory-based subjects can be made significantly more educational. For example, in geography, certain types of rocks can be printed out so that students can get an idea of what each of their physical characteristics is.
In other subjects such as biology, organs can be printed out and then displayed for students to see. The essential functions of the different types of body cells can be highlighted when school children are given a more hands-on explanation.
Using 3D printing in school chemistry, the different types of molecules and molecular bonds can be explained to students. Since there is a particular physical element to the teaching, this will ensure that students are able to grasp new concepts better. Even better, they will no longer feel the need to cram information without understanding what everything means.
Architecture Students can use 3D printing
Architecture students can use 3D printing so that they can get a scaled-down idea of what their buildings will look like. Certain visual qualities of designs might not be apparent without a physical rendition of the model.
3D printing will enable future architects to create functional, high-quality prototypes of their designs so that they can show it to investors and clients. This will not only allow them to express their ideas more quickly to the client but will also give them a better way to sell their work. It is thus helping them make more money as well.
3D printing can be used to encourage Entrepreneurship from an early age
With the help of 3D printing, young students are encouraged and nudged to think with independence and manage their work output. Both of these skills are very important tools for entrepreneurship. If these students happen to come across Additive Manufacturing in the later stages of their career, they’ll already be familiar with it since they’ve already encountered something similar in school.
Using the knowledge that they gained in school, young entrepreneurs can utilize the vast number of 3D technologies and materials that are available at their fingertips and synthesize professional products at minimal expense. The ease of being able to make your own projects become a reality will definitely be an inspiration for the next generation of young entrepreneurs.
Due to how versatile 3D printers can be they have become an inseparable part of our day to day lives. Instead of waiting for parts to be shipped from foreign countries 3D printers are enabling innovators to fast track progress and skip painful waiting periods. If and when 3D printing is used in education, it will kick start a whole new method of teaching children. One where success is not dependent on rote memorization but on conceptual understanding.