Our New 3D Printer

Our MakerBot Replicator 2X has arrived! Woohoo! Let the making begin! What should my first object be? A rook piece to replace my chipped one on my chess set? How about some dice so I can study probability? How about a robot with an Arduino circuit board with customized parts? The possibilities are endless!

Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 2.55.27 PM

For a week, I researched which printer would fit our needs and there is A LOT of great choices at different price points and features. And there are more coming down the pipeline as the demand to print in 3D is exponentially growing everywhere. Soon, maybe in the next 10 years, we could see a 3D printer in most homes.

We went with this particular model as it offers the ability to print in two colors. The MakerBot’s enormous creative community all converge at Thingiverse.com where people share and open their creations with others to use and tweak. That can prove itself a great place to refer to.

Now, why have a 3D printer at school? Printing in 3D offers our students a way to design and prototype ideas and creations that connects with their classes in such a way that it exciting and fresh. Once students find out what the printer can do, they can brainstorm what problems/challenges they want to solve or ideas to investigate further. They can then learn how to use computer aided design (CAD) software and send it to the 3D printer. That is a very powerful learning experience.

Here are some cool educational ideas that has been floating around the internet:

History classes can print out historical artifacts for a more tangible experience
Students can print out 3D versions of their artwork
Students can print out states, countries, topography, demographic, or population maps
Students can design molds for food products
Students can print out replacement parts for other existing equipment and even redesign parts
Science students can print out 3D models of bones, molecules, cells, viruses, and even organs.

Okay, enough of this very quick rambling and on to printing!…

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