3D printed toy

Smart Education: 3D Printing 101s For Students

With the evolution of technology, the education sector also keeps undergoing upgradation. Even the art fields like music have been upgraded from just using traditional instruments to using digital instruments like MIDI controllers & software applications like DAW (Digital Audio Workstation).

We see school students folding & cutting cardboards, chart papers or thermocols to make their science or art projects. That’s fine to some extent but for a final project model or even for recreational & educational purposes, it’s even better to use 3D printed models. With 3D printing, students can make their projects in a much easier & better.

Teaching 3D printing to school students will also help the students in acquiring practical prototyping knowledge that will help them in the corporate world i.e. while they working a real job or while they are planning their new startup / business.

The importance of 3-D printing is that it can be used in many sectors like engineering, medical, fashion designing, Archeology, R&D, etc.

Now, you may be having questions like how to 3-D print something, what are 3D printers, etc. So, let’s explore the answers for you.

3D Printed Harry Potter Castle

3D Printed Hogwarts Castle- designed/edited on SelfCAD by @anmolmaker

3D Printing

In short words, 3D Printing is the art of constructing three dimensional models with the help of software & hardware. Now, let’s go deep into why you should learn to 3D print.

Reasons To Learn 3D Printing

For School Students:

Creating 3D models using cardboards, thermocols or Plaster-of-Paris is a time & effort consuming process & none of this is used in the actual world (i.e. in the R&D, model prototyping, etc). 3D Printer comes to aid & provides the students a better method. Think of it like you just have to give the instruction to computer (i.e. create a 3D image on CAD software) & then feed your 3D image file to the 3D. The 3D printer then gets your 3D model ready in a few hours.

Think of a cardboard/ plaster-of-paris model which turns out good but it gets deformed with time. Well, good news is that 3D printers use materials like PLA, ABS, TPU, etc. Hence, your 3D printed models will not get deformed. As a part of robotics as well, it is extremely helpful for STEM education (Science, Technology, Technology, Mathematics). Students can bring their creativity to life with their 3D Printing skills & knowledge.

For College students:

Although 3D printing has its use in almost every field of higher education but the most common fields that efficiently use it are – Engineering, Architecture, Medical, Fashion & Art Industry, etc. College students find it very useful when it comes to making creative & unique projects.

For Teachers:

For teachers, it isn’t a rocket science to explain 3D printers to students. 3D Printed models with topics like Cartesian plane in math/ physics or 3 – D model of plants for biology class eases the explanation task for the teacher. Even for history and geography teachers, a customized 3D printed section of the globe would be a better option to explain plateaus and mountains in a country or continent or world.

Fashion Designing:

The 3D view of the fashion gear/ accessories, that fashion designers draw, can be brought to life with the use of 3D printing. This way, fashion designers can make a 3D printed prototype of their design.

Decorations & Repairs:

Whether you are willing to decorate your space as usual or for festive decorations, 3D printing can help you make any kind of decorative piece you want. You can even use 3D printed stuffs to replace the broken/ lost pieces of anything.

With this, we can conclude that 3d printing is extremely time-saving and useful.

Simple Steps To 3D Print Any Model

Now you must be thinking of how to get the 3D designs ready for printing & how to actually print it. Well, you can either make your own designs or you can use the pre-existing 3D designs from the internet. Here are these two ways

CAD (Computer Aided Design) Software:

It will help you to build your 3D design on your PC or laptop or tablet. A very easy-to-use yet very effective one is SelfCAD. It’s ideal even for students & art enthusiasts.

Download 3D Designs Online:

Many websites & online portals like Thingiverse & My Mini Factory. One can download desirable 3D designs from these portals & simply slice them according to their 3D Printer. The rest of the task of 3D printing is simply handled by the 3D printer.

Basically, the design made in CAD & the designs downloaded from online portals are the ‘stl files’. These ‘stl files’ files are converted into ‘gcode files’ in a slicing software or slicing tool (SelfCAD has inbuilt slicing tool).  At last, the gcode file is fed into the 3D Printer for 3D Printing.

Basics Of 3D Printers

Things start with having access to a 3D printer. There are two types of 3D printers that are common:

  1. FDM (Fuel Deposition Modeling)
  2. SLA (Stereo lithography)

FDM are widely used by beginners because of its efficiency & ease-of-use.

An FDM 3D printer is incomplete without filaments. There are 9 types of filament

  1. PLA
  2. ABS
  3. Nylon
  4. Carbon fiber
  5. TPU
  6. Wood
  7. Metal
  8. Glow in the dark material
  9. & more

Based on various conditions, you can select the type of filament you feel like using.

Printing Bed of FDM 3D Printers:

An FDM 3D printer requires a proper surface so that the model doesn’t gets tilted while being printed. Generally, the surface is intentionally kept moderately hot hence they are called heated bed.

Infill:

To not have gaps in the model & to prevent the 3D model from collapsing due to gravity, infill is used. Infill has huge effect on the strength of the 3D printed object. Because infill is placed inside the object, it isn’t visible to the eye after the object has been completely printed. It can only be seen while the 3D object is being printed & when we set the infill settings in the slicing software. The ideal infill density is 10% to 35% but we can vary it depending on our requirements.

Conclusion

With technologies getting smart, we could get smarter. School & College students with practical knowledge & experience of 3D printing  have an added advantage in every field.

Even kids can create their favourite 3D printed toys under the supervision of their guardians or teachers.

What are your opinions regarding 3D printing? Would you consider learning it? What would like to design/print?

Posted in Blogs.

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