Teaching a 3D Printing / 3D Scanning Class to middle school students

Teaching a 3D Printing / 3D Scanning Class to middle school students

3D printing was a locked down industry that up until recently has its chance to expand into new industries and education. The fact 3D printing can be used as a easy and cheap way to prototype designs openly will create more passionate students for the engineering field. When kids get to see a thing they just made turned into a physical product within a few hours it will inspire them to think more logistical by figuring out solutions to problems they see in their daily life.

I wanted to teach this class to see the reception of 3D printing and how it will impact the future generations for when this is more readily available.

Starting the class


To start off the class I needed to explain the basics of 3D printing and modeling for 3D printing and what to think about when they design models. I printed out 3 Marvin keychain models at different angles to show the effects of gravity and points of adhesion to the heated platform.

Once they understood how they should make the models, I taught them the basics of TinkerCAD by AutoDesk. Since the main point of this class was to teach them the basics of 3D printing. Along with this to print the models in front of them, once they saw the printer in action they jumped right onto the computers to make their designs.

Here are a few of the models some of the class made during the time I had them modeling designs

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3D Scanning

After I got them to design the models and watch them print them, I gave them to the creators of each model, On the final day of the class I wanted to show them how you can take a design from the real world and convert that into a model that is printable. So i began this class by showing them how a Kinect sensor works. Once that was done anyone who wanted could chose to be turned into a 3D scan.

Scanning each person by setting them up in a chair and moving around them to properly scan them. Once that was done I printed out each person with White PLA at 0.22mm layer height

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Once the class was over the students had a basic understanding of the principles of 3D design and printing, Understanding how to change out filament on a printer, understanding infill and layer height. This being the first time teaching any kind of class was an interesting opportunity. If i were to do this again I would want to extend the length of the class and have more predefined rhetoric to use.





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