3D Printing in a nutshell
A 3D printer can make physical objects of various sizes, shapes and materials. Think building an architecture prototype, or molecule structure or something as simple as a keychain. Think printing not only with plastic, but other materials like wood and copper.
Imagine normal printing done on paper done repeatedly over and over again, layer by layer to create a 3 dimensional object. Instead of ink printing on paper, a thin cable (usually plastic filament) is used to print and create an object by reheating and molding that thin cable to form layers.
3D printing is rapidly changing the dynamics of the manufacturing industry. We are slowly moving from mass production to on-demand manufacturing. There’s no doubt about 3D printing fading out conventional means of manufacturing and hence adding to its importance today.
Why learn to 3D print?
- Limitless applications - currently this technology is used in a number of industries such as electronics, consumer goods, dental, medical, automotive, aerospace, architecture and defence amongst others
- Easier to build prototypes and moulds in many instances
- Encourages creativity and allows ideas to be easily brought to life
Benefits to students
- Meaningful learning - real, visual and tangible learning opportunity where students are not limited by 3D diagrams in books
- Cross functional across subjects - 3D printing can be used to enhance/learn other subjects and can make them more fun
- Engaging - The hands on learning can boost engagement
- Inspires students to think big - 3D printing gives students a platform to bring all their ideas to life that may not have been possible otherwise.
- Teaches failure - students learn that failure is part of the process and are encouraged to keep trying new ideas