3D Printing ideas for students. The problem of what to 3D Print with your classes is one that many teachers face when they think about introducing 3D printing to the classroom. Getting to grips with the process is the first major achievement and then integrating it into lesson for students is the next stage. There are many things that teachers need to think about, the first being what to actually teach. What are students in your classes going to design and 3D print? The key has to be engaging students in the design and make process by allowing the to engage in design challenges. Thinking of ideas for lessons if you are a beginner to teaching 3D printing can be daunting. The best place to start is by teaching peer reviewed content by other teachers. The learnbylayers curriculum has been validated and reviewed by teachers around the world including the UK, Singapore and Australia and will enable your students to become fully confident 3D printing designers. After working through the lesson banks students will be able to apply their skills leaned to create all kinds of projects.*
3D Printing ideas – top 5 projects for students
Idea number 1 – The balloon STEM boat.
This is a great project really engage your students in STEM. Students will have to use the basic skills of extrude, revolve, shell, chamfer and duplicate to be able to model a similar outcome. We would recommend this project for students who are 13 years old+ as the modelling skills required are at an intermediate level. This idea would teach students to work to tolerances and could be easily completed as part of a team activity, where each group member has to model a part of the design. To download this model to use as a teaching demonstration for your students click here.
Idea number 2 – Air powered bloodhound car
This project is a great challenge for students to embrace the ‘iterative’ design aspect of 3D Printing. Bloodhound SSC is an initiative to design and make a rocket powered car that will break the 1000mph barrier and become the fastest car in history. There is currently a nation wide campaign in the UK to involve students in STEM subjects by using the Bloodhound project as a way to engage and motivate children into STEM. This air powered rocket car is a great way to teach 3D Printing to students. There are many different ways that this can be taught to students, you could allow your classes to design the car from scratch and allow them to have total custom control over the appearance of the car. Alternatively, you could give students the chassis (main body) of the car and allow students to design the wheels for the car e.g. can the wheels be designed as light as possible to allow for a reduced weight allowing for faster speed? The car is powered by a basic hobby rocket launcher. To download an example of this resource of click here.
Idea number 3 – Education assembly toy.
This project is excellent if you are starting 3D printing with younger children. The beginners lesson pack will prepare students for this type of modelling. The base can be modelled by using a basic square extruded with the corners rounded. Then geometric shapes created and stretched into shape. These can then be duplicated and used as cut outs for the shapes to slot into. With TinkerCAD operating a drag and drop features, this could easily be modelled in a lesson by students. The great thing about this idea is students can create their own designs and then physically test them with children as a learning tool. This could also form part of a collaborative design task. Students could work in teams with each person allocated a specific feature to model on CAD. To download this as an example resource to use in lesson click here.
Idea number 4 – The speedy architect project.
This project is another thingiverse STEM project. The key here is speed. To model these connectors would be very easy and it would be suitable for starting out with younger children. Again, TinkerCAD would be a quick and easy way of modelling this project. The other benefit of this project is quick speed of the 3D printed outcome, each connector would print fast. Also the project would use very little filament. You could easily get a whole class set of connectors out of a roll of filament. The great thing about this as well is once they are 3D printed students will have endless fun creating different types of structures using straws to connect the pieces. You could even set this as a competition for your classes e.g. design a structure from 3D printed connectors that can support the most amount of weight. Get a free copy of this model here.
Idea number 5 – Spirographs
Spirograph’s are great fun and children love them. Whilst these look easy and simple to model, there is actually a good amount of challenge in designing something like this. We would recommend this for classes who have completed the intermediate lesson module. Involved in this will be sketching and editing profiles to then extrude. Then a new sketches would need to be added on the top layer for the cut out ‘teeth’. This would draw upon the skill of editing a sketch and then using the ‘pattern’ feature through 360 degrees. Your classes would then have to study the Fibonacci series for the middle moving part where the pen nib would be placed. A true STEM project incorporating Maths alongside design. Another good thing about this project idea is the relatively small amount of filament that would be used. In addition to this there would be at least one lesson where students would need to research and design their Spirograph. To get this resource click here.
We hope that you find these 3D Printing ideas useful in your lessons. We have chosen ideas that are quick and straight forward to complete in lessons and that are inline with our learnbylayers curriculum. If you have any ideas that you have been teaching to your students and would like to share them on this blog for free filament, then use the contact form below.
* the projects listed in this blog are not part of the learnbylayers lesson content. They are listed as additional ideas for teachers to teach students as an extra to the learnbylayers curriculum.