The 3D printer in school

A new chapter in education

The expansion of printing a few hundred years ago changed education fundamentally.
Now we face a new and significant development in the shape of 3D printing.

What is 3D printing?

Just as with traditional printers, here too we print from files – the difference being that instead of text and pictures, 3D designs of objects are sent across to the device for printing.

There are several different types of 3D printing –CraftBot is a desktop printer operating FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) technology, the essence being that instead of ink it uses plastic strands (so-called filaments), which the printer nozzle melts and then builds up – layer by layer – the object itself on a special tray.

What can a
3D printer
be used for in school?

For teaching purposes

Designing and printing objects is not only great fun; in the meantime kidsalso expand their knowledge and develop a whole range of skills

For making objects

visualteaching aids

for example, spatial forms for mathematics classes, pulleys, slopes for physics, molecular structures for chemistry…

New components for a damaged machine
remanufacturing broken or failed parts

Anything the school requires, such as
chalk holder, rulers, protractors, frames for message boards,gifts for an open day etc.

skillscan be
developed by
launching a
3D study group?

  • spatial awareness and imagination
  • design, engineering, IT skills
  • maths and physics knowledge
    (when designing objects)
  • language skills
    (software, websites in English)
  • patience, persistence
    (rewards for perfectly printed objects)
  • success also increases
    a child’s self-confidence

What topics are worth pursuing when launching a 3D study group?

In the following, we show the schedule of a 3D training course covering one academic year at Deák Ferenc Secondary School in Kispest.

0 Public presentation
preliminary promotion of 3D printing in the school
1-2 Introduction to 3D printing, presentation of the device
characteristics of parts and filaments, accident prevention; types of objects that can be printed; banned objects (e.g. obscene objects and those similar to weapons); rules of the study group – who can print individually/when
3-4 Steps of 3D modelling, design
creating a simple object in a design program (e.g. a glass) – unfortunately slow computers are very likely to make students impatient
5-6 Details of fine design
dimensions, views, objects consisting of multiple parts; labelling – creating smaller objects is advisable (less filament is consumed and everyone can take turns in printing)
7-8 Slicing previously designed objects
risks, possible problems; setting support, raft and filling, sizing; creating a printable file
9-10 From the model to the completed tool
filament replacement, creating multicolored objects (with supervision!); gaps, holes and indentations in models; modifying completed models
11-12 Creating a multicolored badge individually
designing interlocking elements
13-14 Models on the internet
discovering Thingiverse, MyMiniFactory; finding commonly occurring sources of errors and correcting them in the models of others
15-16 Creating unique Christmas gifts
keychain, Christmas tree ornaments, small animals – great opportunity to identify deficiencies (errors may occur in the phases of design and slicing)
17-18 Operation of the 3D printer
technical check of the device, calibration; settings; what to do in case of filament jams; when the object is too strongly adhered; when to stop printing immediately; what can (and cannot) be fixed on the spot
19-20 Usage of the 3D printer (individually)
one half of the group does modeling, the other half prints individually exams for the kids (individual printing of the file brought on a pendrive) – settings of the device should be changed beforehand, to have them check everything (temperature, tray, etc.)
21-22 Troubleshooting and fixing
presenting typical errors on the printed models
23-24 Let's design objects 1
designing and printing of educational materials considering the specific areaof interest, based on the recommendations of the relevant teachers (e.g. geography puzzle)
25-26 Let's design objects 2
27-28 Designing toys and logical games
e.g. matchbox, coffee spoon
29-30 Printed household objects
Making utilitarianor decorative objects, e.g. vase, cup
31-32 Making gifts
for any type of occasion (Mother's Day, graduation, etc.)
33-34 Finalising the year's work
exhibition of the created objects or their photos; archiving the 3D models and printing files made during the year; updating the bulletin board (articles, photos, reports); creating a study group website within the school website

How to get from the idea
to the actual object?

Finalized designs (in stl, obj format) can be downloaded from the collections page, then these are converted to gcode format using CraftWare and they can be printed immediately. Link: CraftWare
We ourselves can design objects with the help of 3D modelingsoftware (it’s not as difficult as it sounds) – after which the process is just the same as the easier way: slicing, filling, printing.
Recommended design programs: Click here

What sort of printer is best for a school?

Today, countless companies manufacture these sorts of devices –
they all have their advantages and their disadvantages.
Important aspects when considering a school 3D printer:

tough mechanism
kids often don’t look after equipment

simple assembly/disassembly
can be set up for operation without in-depth specialist knowledge; transportability to camps, exhibitions

reliable, precise operation
there is a good chance that it will be working virtually 24/7, therefore a printer less prone to breakdowns is essential

transparent menu and touchscreen that kids can quickly learn to use

great value for money
schools operate on a limited budget so it is important that quality is combined with affordability

What is CraftBot like?

Although not originally designed for schools, its characteristics make it the ideal choice for institutions of education.

Welded, solid steel case
side panels stop kids poking their fingers in, which can be dangerous

Plug ‘N’ Play printing
it is no wonder CraftBot has been awarded the title of Best Plug ‘N’ Play 3D printer in the 2017 Printer Guide published by 3D Hubs based on the opinions of several thousand users

„The Tank”
this is what users call it, referring to the fact that CraftBot is certainly not a delicate device that is liable to break down at any moment

Color touchscreen
simple, transparent menu structure that provides virtually total control– even during printing (temperature regulation, stop, restart etc.)

Great value for money
CraftBot was already listed in the 2016 3D Printer Guide (3D HUBS)– where it finished on top in the Budget category

What else is in CraftBot’s favor?

  • support videos about how to assemble, use printer
  • 0.75 kg filament to start
  • 1 year guarantee (replacement parts)
  • support, live chat in English (weekdays from 8am - 4:30 in CET time zone)
  • own slicer software with English menu

3D design softwares recommended by us and by teachers: