3D Printing is Here!

Grade 6s, watching it print

This is a blog post that I wrote for our school newsletter/blog at YIS.

Of all the new technologies that have become available recently, few have created as much buzz as 3D printing. We are reading about doctors creating implants with 3D printers and engineers creating houses with 3D printers. Last week, we unpacked our first such desktop device – a MakerBot Replicator 2 – at YIS and it is generating a huge buzz amongst students and teachers alike!

As these machines become more accessible, there are two huge changes that are occurring:

  1. Everybody is a designer. Using free tools like SketchUp or Tinkercad on your computer (and tools like 123D Creature on your iPad), we all have the ability to design objects and then print them out.
  2. From consumer to creator. Instead of buying what somebody else things we want or need, we now have the ability to create what we want or need. If our initial design doesn’t work the way we hoped, we can improve it and print it out again.

With online communities like Thingiverse, you can find just about anything you can imagine. From phone cases to dishwasher parts, bike light mounts to miniature dinosaurs, it’s all there. You can even take those designs and remix them to suit your own needs since all files are uploaded under a Creative Commons license. I’m currently printing out accessories for the new printer that I found on the site!

Plato’s five famous solids, printed from Thingiverse

In the second semester, Grade 10s will be designing objects and printing them out on the 3D printer to test if they work as imagined. We’re also exploring how middle school students can create buildings in a virtual Minecraft world and then print models of those buildings on the printer. There has been great discussions about printing objects and testing their strength in Science or creating a set of characters that can be used in a storytelling unit in the ES. The possibilities for authentic inquiry truly are endless!

Our goal is to make this technology accessible to everybody: from Kindergarten to Grade 12; in Tech class as well as English class. If you have any ideas about how you’d like to use the 3D printer, or if you are a parent who uses 3D printing at home or at work, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

10 thoughts on “3D Printing is Here!

  • November 26, 2013 at 6:04 am


    Whoa! Can you say jealous? This looks awesome and I love the changes that are starting. I can’t wait to follow you and your school along on this journey.


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  • October 16, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    Like Megan, I can say that I’m really, really jalous!

    I think this 3D printing is awesome, you could make and create nearly what you want. It’s really great that kids could try it at school.

    Hope my kids could too, one day!
    Queen Vic recently posted..home design software: all you wanna know about it!

  • December 16, 2015 at 11:23 pm

    Looks really exciting for those kids, its great to see all generations getting involved in 3D printing and I for one am excited.

  • January 24, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    Thank you very much for providing those useful free resources to create 3D design. I am having a look at those tools now and hopefully to learn them quickly for my personal 3D design and print solution.

  • January 28, 2016 at 10:53 am

    Isn’t technology fascinating? To think we thought it was neat to iron on a logo on a tee shirt. Now 3 D prints allows for all types of creative ideas. I can’t wait to see where this takes us in my business with selling promotional products and how much fun it will be for the recipients.

  • August 3, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Can’t wait to see what the future holds for 3D printing 🙂

  • March 23, 2017 at 7:09 pm

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