The world of rapid prototyping and 3D printing is ever changing- taking the world in their stride by helping build a large variety of products. From airplane parts to consumer products, from simple hobby items to sensitive parts fit for space- there is some solution for every sector in the world of rapid prototyping. Advances like 3D bioprinting are in fact, helping human kind to print out tissue structures.
On the other hand, rapid prototyping will soon be fit for consumer level production, eliminating the need for tedious assembly line manufacturing. Independent hobbyists and enthusiasts are becoming keener and keener towards 3D printing due to the newest models of 3D printers. These printers are perfect for home use on a small scale, and can help make any model one can imagine. 3D printing is playing its role in creative education too as children and learners of different ages are learning to 3D print in order to study shapes and patterns better.
Engineers and architects too want to unleash their creativity, hence the use of 3D printers in smaller, more manageable models. Children in particular, are naturally very creative hence 3D printing and rapid prototyping technologies can be grasped quickly by them. A recent amazing feat was performed by Michael Krikorian- a student of the Armenian Mesrobian School in just grade five. While other children were busy camping or fishing this summer vacation, Michael spent it 3D printing a beautiful, intricate model of his school.
Thinking back about the arts and crafts projects that most of us had to do in school, we would notice that the same types of projects are almost universal. Students in elementary school were assigned craft projects that pretty much are the same, no matter which school one attended. At a certain age, students work on the same type of arts and crafts projects some other students are working on somewhere else. Something everyone fondly remembers from grade school is probably 3D art- which involved taking crumpled tissue paper bits, gluing them together and creating a drawing with texture- some 3D element to an otherwise 2D drawing on a piece of paper. It as if, made the drawing pop out from the page.
Times have changed drastically from the olden days as 3D art is now something entirely different. Elementary school pupils of today are being instructed as to how to design their desired things with 3D software, which they can 3D print afterwards. The use of 3D printers is being taught to children from an early age. It truly is a matter of great joy that the children love every bit of their 3D printing experience. The fact that they are going so far as to further learn to create technology as their hobby proves that the children are unleashing their creativity. Same was the case for fifth grade student Michael at Armenian Mesrobian School, California. He is so excited by his newly acquired technical skills that he spent his entire summer vacation to 3D print and design a model of his very own school.
Tinkercad was the software of choice for Michael Krikorian in order to design a full fledged 3D model of the Mesrobian school campus. A MakerBot 3D printer was used for rapid prototyping of the campus model. The intricately designed model has all the details of the campus including multiple buildings (because the campus has a preschool along with an elementary, middle and college preparatory high school in the same premises), trees in front of the school etc. The model was brought to school by him when the classes began after a few weeks of summer vacation. The administrators and teachers of Michael Krikorian were pleasantly surprised and impressed. The model is now kept enshrined in a trophy case in the front office of the school.
While other children of his age may or may not have been exposed to 3D printing at all, Krikorian happens to be a step ahead of both his schools and other children. He first used his own printer at home to prepare the model of the school. This model he designed on hisown, hence he is going to have a valuable headstart whenever he begins to learn 3D designing and printing at an academic level. The Mesrobian School has recently obtained a 3D printer for the first time ever as an effort to make their STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) courses more interactive and practical. The school’s ultimate goal is to use the printer in order to teach students about rapid prototyping technology in their classrooms.
In 2015,the school put the printer to use when a sixth grade student needed a part built for his science fair project. The student found an open source blueprint of the necessary part online, and instead of waiting for the part to arrive in mail after ordering it, 3D printed it using the printer at school with the help of a teacher. The project of this student was educational to the school as to how 3D printing and rapid prototyping can be used as more than classroom aids. The technology can also be used to help students’ work in other activities and lessons.
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