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How Can 3D Printers be Used in Educational Settings?

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3D Printing and Education?

The days of paper, pencils, and textbooks are over!

In a world full of computers and smart everything, students are seeking new technology formats to digest information.

Tansform boring, flat, text and imagery into intriguing 3D tangible objects. 3D printing and education is a combination that is turning heads.

3D Printing and Education

Music

The sound of 3D printed instruments….that is music to my ears! Students can now use 3D printing to design and build complete instruments, specific instrument parts, musical accessories, or even decorations.

Beginner students have access to thousands of free pre-designed instrument models; while more advanced students can custom design an original creation of their own.

Many of the free pre-designed instrument models feature parts lists and tutorials. This creates a step-by-step guide to walk teachers through the printing and assembly process.

These instruments are completely functional and highlight the personality of the individual student, through either color choice or intricate designs.

Here are just some of the possibilities for 3D printed instruments.

Thingiverse.com is a great resource to download free models to 3D print.

Download the guitar model shown in the video above here for free. DOWNLOAD FREE 3D PRINTED GUITAR MODEL

Other 3D printed instruments include Ukuleles, Violins, Harps, and much more.

Not ready to take on the challenge of a full instrument? Why not 3D print smaller musical accessories? 3D print a guitar pick, instrument stand, music book holder, or any of the thousands of music related models available online.

Adding some motors and LED lights would truly create a one of a kind creation!

3D Printing and Education

Architecture and Design

One of the unique aspects of 3D printing and additive technologies is that it has unlocked the door to designs and shapes that were previously impossible (or very difficult) to manufacture.

In addition Architecture and Design students can now execute on concepts that were previously a futuristic dream.

3D printing enhances the level of complexity and intricate detail that can now become alive in your design.

This allows for more “curvy” and eccentric shapes an structures that stand out in a traditionally linear landscape of buildings and structures.

Using 3D printing architects and designers can produce low cost models of their concepts in a matter of days, allowing them to quickly iterate and perfect their masterpiece.

Traditionally these models take weeks (or even months) to produce and cost a pretty penny. Those days are in the past.

What better way to learn about architecture classics than 3D printing world-famous buildings. For example the Empire State Building, Taj-Mahal, or Golden Gate Bridge.

Take a stroll even farther into the past and explore the topology of ancient structures, historical ruins, and lost city landscapes.

Sometimes a 3D object you can hold in your hand can better inspire an eager designer rather than envisioning an additional dimension to standard 2D photos.

These 3D printed models are realistic, to scale, and can be extremely detailed.

3D Printing and Education

Anatomy

“Today’s lecture is on the Skeletal System” “We will NOT be passing around the classroom the Skull of a person who kindly donated their body to science”. “Instead I will pass around this 3D printed model of a Skull that precisely represents the structure protecting our brains!”

3D printed anatomical models of the body are a fantastic way to physically hold and interact with the Skeletal System and Internal Organs.

The dental industry has particularly taken grasp of 3D printing to model dental structure and use as visual for dental students around the world.

3D scanning is essentially a 3D camera and software which create a 3D point clouds which can be manipulated with computers and 3D printed.

It has been adopted by dentists as a means of modeling the exact geometry inside a patients mouth. This helps to create perfectly fitting caps, dentures, braces, and other dental and orthodontic devices.

The days of “one-size-fits-all” is slowly fading away as custom dental solutions are developing thanks due the exciting developments in 3D printing and scanning.

3D Printing and Education

Mathematics

It may not be apparent at first, but 3D printing even holds its purpose and uses in Mathematics.

For starters, the underlying code that controls the computer systems and printers themselves is all supported the fundamentals of Mathematics. Not a surprise… nearly all of science rides this wave.

Math is not a subject that comes easy to everyone, and sometimes a visual representation can be that extra fuel to intrigue a young developing mind.

Ever heard of a Fractal? It is essentially a repeating geometry which is a building block for a larger version of the structure.

They are sweet, and packed with mathematics and geometry lessons for students.

A great example is the Sierpinski Triangle, which conveniently has hundreds of free models available to download and 3D print.

3D printing can be used to create models that help students explore Geometry and the wonders of various shapes.

How do angles impact lengths and visa-versa? How do angles and lengths of mating geometries impact one another?

What ways can you design a structure from interacting geometries?

3D printing is a fantastic bridge (pun-intended) between Mathematics and many other science specialties such as physics, architecture, engineering, and many others.

3D Printing and Education

Fashion and Arts

3D printed clothing? Really?……REALLY!

Maybe you are a trend-setting fashion-forward person who is excited to try on a 3D printed dress, or 3D printed shoes.

Good news is fashion designers around the world are jumping all over this technology to design never before seen designs to compliment traditional fashion.

3D printing has particularly found root in the Jewelry sector of fashion and design as a low cost way to introduce new and complex works of art.

Whether it is a bracelet, earrings, or necklace, there is the possibility to incorporate 3D printing.

Conclusion

In conclusion 3D printing has already found a home music, architecture and design, anatomy, mathematics, and fashion. It continues to be used in more and more applications within the education field.

Furthermore 3D printing creates a new medium for learning and has unlocked the door for new and innovative creations.

There is no doubt that 3D printing will be utilized more and more as the technology become increasingly accessible to all.

Only time will tell what other interesting educational settings and curriculum 3D printing will integrate with in the future!

We would love to hear your feedback on this topic, so throw a comment down below!

How do you see 3D printing being incorporated in education? How have you used / or plan to use 3D printing in the classroom?

For other creative ways 3D printing is being incorporated into our society check out the Top 5 3D Printing Applications

This post was published on June 30, 2019

The 3D Print Zone
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