Well, it has happened. Thanks to my principal, Mrs. Rock, and the commitment to students from Scott Floyd and Michael Gras, the teachers and students at White Oak Intermediate School will get the opportunity to experience the wonders of 3D printing. By her request, we have been furnished with a Makerbot Replicator 5th generation and 11 spools of colored filament paired with the Sprout computer system!
I, like my friend, Terri Eichholz at Engage Their Minds (I have never met Terri personally, but she is one of my main go-tos in my PLN) did not understand the value of 3D printing initially. The printer has been in the computer lab about 10 days, and I have already learned so much, like how to take the smart extruder apart to remove a clog of hardened filament. I attempted to print a firetruck from Thingiverse without considering setting it to print with supports. When the printer attempted to print the bottom of the truck in thin air, things went ari! I wish I had taken a video. With the help of this Youtube video, I was printing again in no time. Thingiverse is a great website where creators have uploaded their wonderful creations for others to print. It is a great resource, but meeting a specific need by creating a design of your own results in a feeling of accomplishment that I was not expecting. I can only imagine what it will do for my students! My first project was to design a hanger for a frame. The frames my husband purchases to hang All-State photos in the high school no longer come with the hardware attached to hang them on the wall. Here is the design in Tinkercad and printed design:
My next challenge was to create a flag holder for the flags we used during STAAR testing to signal for someone to come to our room. In the past, we had a two sided slip of paper (one side was green, the other side was red) we attached to the door frame. We would flip it to the red side when we needed a break. It was difficult for the monitors to see unless they were standing right in front of our door. The flag was created to stick out from the door frame to make it visible from down the hall. We were placing it in a clip magnet that was not very stable. Using Tinkercad, it was fairly easy to create a holder to attach a magnet to:
I introduced the 5th graders to the printer on Friday. Since they only have a few weeks left in our building, they will not have the opportunity the other students have to enjoy the printer. With the assistance of the 5th grade teachers, we have come up with a way for them to all get something made on the 3D printer. Students will be designing a coin that represents their 5th grade year. The teachers will choose one design from each homeroom and allow students to vote. The winning design will be printed for each student in the color of their choice. You can access the template for their design ideas here.
For the other grade levels, I may be using this great resource for ideas from Sylvia Martinez: 29 Project Starters for 3D Printers.