California Educator

May / June 2016

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What is 3-D printing? Three-D printing takes a digital model and forms a physical object, by stack- ing layers of material one on top of another. This layer-by-layer printing process is known as additive manu- facturing. Imagine the plastic building blocks you played with as a kid, only with a lot more precision. What can you make with a 3-D printer? If you can draw it, you can make it. Applications related to school sub- jects include: • Biology — cross-sections of hearts and organs. • Chemistry — complex molecules. • Geography — topographic maps. • Engineering — prototypes. • History — artifacts. Three-D printing enables students to handle objects that normally would not be readily available. What material is used to print 3-D objects? Three-D printers use filament, which costs an average of $50 per spool. Each spool is enough to print about 300 chess pieces or 10 chess sets. Filament can be made from a variety of materials such as ABS plastic, nylon, epoxy resin and polycarbonate. What modeling soware do 3-D printers use? Three-D printers use digital models created by CAD (computer-aided design) programs. Various free programs are available, such as Tinkercad, SketchUp, 3DTin, Blender and OpenSCAD. Ready to go freestyle? Three-D printing pens such as the 3Doodler allow you to literally draw in the air or on surfaces, without so- ware or computers. As you draw, the pen extrudes heated plastic, which cools instantly and turns solid. You can build an infinite variety of shapes and objects. Which 3-D printer should my school buy? A decade ago, you couldn't buy a desktop 3-D printer for less than $10,000. Today, you can get a great one for under $2,000. Generally, the more you spend, the better the detail you'll get in your printed object. Also, higher-end printers allow you to print bigger objects. 3-D printers offer multiple uses in the classroom By TERRY NG E D U C A T O R S A C R O S S T H E nation are using 3-D printers to revolutionize teaching and learning. Students — even young ones — are creating amazing objects that help them explore various concepts and understand core principles of design, fabrication and more. S T A R T E R : Printrbot Simple ( $ 5 9 9 ) M I D - R A N G E : MakerBot Replicator Mini ( $ 1 , 3 7 5 ) H I G H - E N D : MakerGear M2 ( $ 1 , 8 2 5 ) The Third Dimension 12 Printrbot Printrbot Simple ( $ 5 9 9 )

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