- 2023 Update
3D printers are becoming increasingly popular. According to Statista, the global market for 3D printers grew from $4.4 billion to $21 billion in 2021. They are used by teachers to support teaching and learning. But the decision comes with challenges. The biggest challenge is to provide learning challenges to students, ones that will spur their involvement and encourage learning. This means introducing and using computer-aided design (CAD) to create models. Here are some great ideas for design challenges using a 3D printer that can be used to stimulate students. They are grouped into three categories according to the level of difficulty.
Great Ideas for Design Challenges Using a 3D Printer
We first begin with some of the simplest design challenges using a 3D printer. As the name of the category suggests, the learning process aims to start with the basics. Students learn how to use TinkerCAD software and basic 3D modeling tools to design usable products.
First, students learn to design a box and a lid. This looks like an easy task, but the challenge is to design the two products so that they fit accurately. Attention to detail matters a lot, as students need to model to scale and with precision.
Another challenge engages students to customize their keyring. They have the option of printing it with their initials, their favorite team logo, or anything else that the software is capable of processing. This is a very effective approach to developing an original design and helping students to focus on the scale and functionality of the designed products.
Other similar challenges require students to design and 3D print a food clip or a desk tidy. The overall aim at this level is to let students get comfortable with the basics of 3D printing and related software. These challenges are usually intended for students aged 10-12.
Now we get serious and talk about some advanced design challenges using a 3D printer. The students who have completed the basic course are now ready to take up more advanced design challenges. They are usually developed to encourage students to think outside the box. Design challenges include those for printing bicycle handle grips, lighting features, phone docks, phone cases, or storage devices.
Another brilliant design challenge is about identifying a problem and creating a design to solve it. For instance, challenge students to design a door stopper to keep it shut. Ask them to make a lever for a heavy window. They can try as many times as needed to find the right design.
The challenges in this category take students’ design and printing skills to another level. They foster creativity and teach students to work independently.
In this category, the most difficult design challenges using a 3D printer are included. They are intended for students aged 16 and beyond.Given the complexity of tasks at this level, it is important to keep reviewing progress for better results. This is similar to students’ attempts to use online services to find top essay writing services, which provides writing any kind of assignment.
Schools need to be equipped with resin 3D printers to enable the learning process. The challenges in this category require students to design small jewelry items or a simple building. They take a lot of patience and accuracy to come up with the right design. To design scale models, students need to take measurements and convert them for accuracy.
The overall goal in this category is to teach students how to use resin 3D printing. It differs from basic, filament-based 3D printing used for simpler design challenges. As a bonus, students are also allowed to wear the designs they develop.
Design challenges using a 3D printer is crucial in the teaching and learning processes is a great way to stimulate creativity and attention to detail among students. There are different levels of proficiency, and it makes sense to divide the design challenges into different categories to match the age and skill level of students.
Starting with the basics, students can go on to master some of the most complex design challenges. Throughout the process, they learn a lot about the software, scaling, measurements, and the way 3D printing works.
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