This has been an exciting week! Last week, I posted about our 5th graders learning to design in the Tinkercad web app in my post 5th Graders Begin 3D Design. This week students were thrilled to begin printing their designs on our 3D printer! It was a fairly steep learning curve for my students and I! Now that we are seeing success, I am happy to say it was worth the effort. Once I introduced Tinkercad and all of the little nuances, students went through the 5 original lessons provided in Tinkercad. I then shared a few more "how to" lessons to help them as they began designing their projects.
Once students designed their projects, students exported their designs (.stl file) from Tinkercad to their Google Drive, and then they shared it with me. This work flow was simple and efficient! I asked our district email administrator for a Google account just for 3D printing so I wouldn't have all of their emails and files in my work Google/Gmail account. I then downloaded their projects, and set them on the Makerbot print bed so that I could print five or six designs at a time.
Also, our 3D printer lives in our library so that all of the students in the building can see the 3D printer working. This initial exposure to the printer will help prepare students for when they are given the opportunity to design and print.
Now that our 5th graders have learned how to design for the 3D printer, I am realizing how great this design experience is for our students. I would recommend Tinkercad designing for students with or without a 3D printer.