Sep 2, 2016 | By Benedict
There’s only one thing more satisfying than being part of a 3D printing project, and that’s teaching others how to get involved with the additive manufacturing game. A few weeks ago, Netherlands-based 3D printer manufacturer Ultimaker launched its ambitious 3D printing Pioneer Program through which school teachers and university staff can share useful tips and resources for bringing 3D printing into the classroom, but Thingiverse, MakerBot’s huge 3D printable file hub, has a fair amount of educational content of its own. MakerBot Learning, the educational division of the 3D printing company, has sifted through the database to identify the best STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) 3D printing lesson plans submitted by Thingiverse users. The various lessons, from which we have selected 15, include step-by-step instructions, photos, 3D design files, activity sheets, and more. Some of the lessons are targeted at high school students, while others are more suitable for younger learners.
3D printing lesson #1: GO-GO AirBoat
Thingiverse user Macakcat’s GO-GO AirBoat lesson plan combines mathematics, physics, and electronics. When assembling the 3D printable AirBoat, students will discover how payloads affect a ship’s buoyancy, speed, and stability. They can do this by loading the 3D printed vessel up with one-cent coins until it is at max capacity, whereupon a depth sensor will alert the young crew that the boat is ready to set sail. As well as giving students hands-on experience of 3D printing, the project also helps kids learn about resistors, capacitors, diodes, LED’s, DC motors, bipolar junction transistors (BJT’s), Darlington pair transistors, phototransistors as triggers, circuit board layout, and soldering.
3D printing lesson #2: Bicycle Bubble Machine
This fun project from Thingiverse user heinzdrei shows keen makers how to turn their everyday, run-of-the-mill bicycle into a majestic vessel that wouldn’t look out of place in The Little Mermaid. The wind-driven bicycle bubble machine attaches to a standard bike luggage rack, and requires only 3D printed components, wood, screws, and a handful of other parts. The creator of the 3D printing project warns that it can get messy, but isn’t that part of the fun?
3D printing lesson #3: Educational Brake Caliper
Submitted by Thingiverse user Chriswh86, this fun project teaches high school or middle school students how to 3D print and assemble a racing-style brake caliper with quick-release brake pads and dual pistons. The project comes with 3D printable STL files, as well as additional documentation and a quiz. Additionally, the printed caliper fits on a shelf or desk as a display item. “Since the start of my obsession with 3D printing and computer aided design, Motorsports has been on my mind,” Chris explained. “The Educational Brake Caliper is my first Motorsports-related design to be released to the public.”
3D printing lesson #4: Density and Buoyancy Investigations
Thingiverse user mshcott’s 3D printing lesson shows students how objects of different shapes and densities float according to Archimedes’ Principle. The user’s lesson plan actually divides into two “labs,” one to help students investigate volume and the relationship between cubic centimeters and millilitres, and the other to help them investigate density and buoyancy. By 3D printing small cubes with different infill settings, teachers can let students see two seemingly identical objects display different levels of buoyancy—a cube with a 5% infill will float, while a cube with 100% infill will sink.
3D printing lesson #5: Sphero Clipper Boat
One of the featured winners from the MakerBot STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) Makeathon in San Francisco, ttd’s Sphero Clipper Boat lesson plan shows K12 students how to use the Sphero SPRK, Tickle programming, and 3D printing technology to create a boat. This boat can be made to complete several challenges, such as timed races, search and rescue missions, and more. Teachers can choose particular plugins for their activity of choice, depending on the needs of the curriculum.
3D printing lesson #6: Sodium Potassium Biological Electrogenic Pump
Designed to teach high school students about sodium and potassium ion paths across a cell membrane, Thingiverse user stevegong’s 3D printing lesson covers biology, physiology, and physics. The creator of the kit suggests that teachers could employ a “flipped classroom” methodology, with students required to assemble the platform and explain the process of generating a membrane potential to their instructor.
3D printing lesson #7: Wind Energy Stored in Gravity
This fun 3D printing project submitted by Thingiverse user hyperplanemike can be used to teach kids about renewable energy. Energy is generated using a vertical wind turbine on the left hand side of the geared model. A movable battery section in the middle can be adjusted left or right to charge or expend the gravity battery. On the right side, there is a fan that can be used to reproduce a summer breeze after it is caught and stored in the battery.
3D printing lesson #8: Wind Car
Thingiverse user TheDukeAnumber1 encourages students to harvest wind energy to propel an unusual 3D printed car with this clever project. The printable model, which is an example of engineering connections and energy transfer, is aimed at students in 6th grade or higher. A moderate level of dexterity and model-building skill is probably required. “One possible assignment could include requiring students to estimate how many times the wind cups will rotate when the car travels a specified distance,” the maker suggests. “This can be calculated after measuring the wheel and gear diameters.”
3D printing lesson #9: Beast Belly Fraction Game
Submitted by Thingiverse user prof_Ruggles, the Beast Belly Fraction Game helps younger students understand the mathematics of fractions, teaching them to form whole numbers by adding the 3D printed fraction tokens together. Each kind of fraction token has a different thickness according to its value, so that a ½ token is double the thickness of a ¼ token etc. Students can then “fill the belly” of a 3D printed monster with different combinations of these tokens.
3D printing lesson #10: Speedy Architect Project
One of MakerBot Learning’s own 3D printing lessons, of which there are many, the Speedy Architect Project encourages students to make simple structures while meeting critical design requirements and keeping under set time and material limits. MakerBot Learning recommends the building project for students anywhere from 6th grade to 12th grade.
3D printing lesson #11: Ultimate Parametric Box
The Ultimate Parametric Box, a project submitted by electronics hobbyist Heartman, encourages students to get to grips with OpenScad and Thingiverse Customizer by creating 3D printed parametric boxes which can be used to house DIY electronics assemblies, control panels, or enclosures for an Arduino, Raspberry Pi, etc. This advanced project requires OpenScad, internet access, and a 3D printer.
3D printing lesson #12: Sand Spirograph
This sand spirograph activity from Thingiverse user burton15 can be used to teach students how to make a spirograph, a toy that produces mathematical roulette curves. The 3D printable toy was modeled using Blender and is based on a particular design that the maker had as a child. “I tried to keep the list of printed parts minimal by creating a two-gear system instead of a more complex scissor extension arm,” burton15 explains. “A unique feature of my design is the guide wheel that supports the tracing gear to keep it level and from falling into the sand while still allowing the gear to rotate.”
3D printing lesson #13: Rainbow Apparatus
A fascinating and colourful project created by Thingiverse user marciot, the Rainbow Apparatus consists of a lamp and projection disc, and the majority of the device can be 3D printed. Three 20 mm high-power LEDs are used to light up the kaleidoscopic structure. The project is complex in parts, and some soldering is required, so teachers looking to implement the project in the classroom should use their own judgment regarding what age and skill level is suitable.
3D printing lesson #14: Solar Hive
This random parametric “beehive” LED lamp workshop, created by Thingiverse user 3ddruckqueck, is fully customizable and can be made to run off solar power. The lamp can either be powered by 4 – 12 V like a “normal” LED lamp or as a solar powered outdoor night lamp that recharges during the day and glows in random patterns during the night during a specified time frame. All the body parts are 3D printed and the electronics should cost less than $25 in total. “The idea was to create a lamp dedicated to the beauty of randomness, so the shape and the glowing pattern are randomized,” the creator explained.
3D printing lesson #15: Parametric Music Box
Thingiverse user wizard23 submitted this fun Parametric Music Box project, which ended up being a Thingiverse Customizer Challenge contest winner in the “Artistic” category. The design is fully 3D printable, and while the notes don’t ring out quite as true as they might on a metal music box, it’s still mightily impressive that the maker has been able to make regular plastic 3D printing filament into a singing box of wonders. Students with some programming and/or musical experience can create 3D printed music boxes that play different tunes.
With so much educational content to download through Thingiverse and other platforms like the Ultimaker Pioneer Program, the popularity of such websites shows that educators are keen to introduce 3D printing to their students—and help out their teaching peers while doing so.
Posted in 3D Printing Application
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