By Lory Murariu, Intern
At The DAE we take pride in having not just one, but two MakerBot Replicator 3D printers in our facility, and using them as a tool for a hands-on and educational experience. In our introductory 3D Printing class, kids get to see the process of their creations transform from a digital rendering to a physical object.
During our recent spring break sessions, our 3D Printing classroom was full of constantly engaged and enthusiastic students. The technology of 3D printing is so fascinating to young creators that just watching it in action is enough to spark ideas.
In the past few weeks, our students modeled original designs, and we printed a variety of objects like iPhone stands, name tags, a shelf, and even replicas of basketball courts or buildings. We encourage students to make things that not just look cool in design but can also be functional in the home, school or on a desk. This way we can demonstrate how to use imagination and technology in helpful ways.
The interface of 3D modeling can be frustrating at first, but we always encourage problem solving through issues rather than feeling discouraged. We like showing how to model using Tinkercad, a very simple and easy to learn 3D modeling program that works right in the web browser. It’s a very simplified interface that comes with a plethora of already made shapes that can be rotated, resized and reshaped how you like. It’s just as simple as clicking and dragging.
Once a student is satisfied with their design, we go through the steps in using a 3D printer safely and effectively. We cover how to adjust the size and specific settings, exporting the files to an SD card, and how to safely set up the MakerBot for the print.
MakerBots can use a few different types of plastic material, or filament, but we specifically use PLA due to it being nontoxic and organically made. Our students often comment that it smells like syrup! The PLA filament also helps in producing high quality prints that make the final products look beautiful.
To learn more about our 3D printers or classes we offer, please visit our website at TheDAE.com.