Three dimensional printing in classrooms


Abby Lincks

A 3D printed pangolin printed by Victoria Chen (president of the 3D printing club)

Abby Lincks, Editor

A process in which solid, three dimensional objects are formed by creating or using a digital file, 3D printing is changing the process, the pace, and the creativity going into objects. Classrooms are now seeing the ample benefits of using 3D printers to incorporate hands-on learning to the curriculum.

Three dimensional printing, otherwise known as additive manufacturing, is formed by using additive processes. When using this process, an object is being created by laying down material, layer by layer. 

This method of creating objects thrives due to its timeliness and infinite possibilities. Instead of an object being carved out of material, this method allows material to be built up layer by layer in a matter of hours rather than days to weeks. Students are able to use models online and make necessary adjustments to those models, or generate an original design to create a complete product. 

Three dimensional printing is being used in both the automotive and aviation industries to create individual parts and make a successful end product. For example, in 2018, Ford Motor Company opened its Advanced Manufacturing Center in Michigan. A huge focus of this facility is dedicated to 3D printing. The company uses this method as part of its product development, and actively produces hundreds of thousands of different parts to help improve testing and development using 3D printers. 

Just like Ford, present day students have begun to integrate 3D printing in their own creations and classrooms. Three dimensional printing is a hands-on, interactive process. Instead of students merely learning the ins and outs of designing a product and how it functions, they can create their own and view this process firsthand. This makes understanding exactly what is happening at each stage of development easier. 

In biology classes, students would be able to create and design 3D models of DNA, cells, or organs. Graphic design students can create 3D versions of their artwork. Additionally, engineering and robotics students, who frequently partake in the design process and manufacturing process, are able to create their own usable molds and designs. 

Three dimensional printing has introduced a new and progressive way for students to get involved with learning new material. Students in many high schools are now able to personalize their own unique creations. The possibilities are endless.



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