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Educational Software Thread, Any primary schools out there doing 3D printing? in Technical; I work as an ICT teacher at a London based private primary school. We've recently decided to introduce a 3D ...
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    Any primary schools out there doing 3D printing?

    I work as an ICT teacher at a London based private primary school. We've recently decided to introduce a 3D printing topic over this term with our Y6 classes - the first time we've ever done it.

    The biggest issue for us has been finding a way of scaffolding it for 10-11 year olds. All softwares we have found have been aimed more at secondary school children. There's an amazing one called Tinkercad which would be perfect were it not for the $1000 a month (for 10 licences!) price for using it. Our children are currently designing their own robot models using FreeCAD (opensource) - simple and free, but with lots of issues at the moment too with memory floods. When it eventually arrives, we'll be printing off their designs on a Cube3D printer. The entire topic is very trial and error - realising issues around the subject each lesson and solving problems when we come to them!

    As far as we can tell, we're the only primary school in the country that's currently doing this. Does anyone know anyone else who is? It would be very useful to share ideas or suggestions. Alternatively, once this is done we're happy to offer any thoughts!

    Cheers!

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    plexer's Avatar
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    How about Printcraft minecraft 3d printing?

    Ben

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    Steve21's Avatar
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    Have you considered something like GoogleSketchUp? or whatever its called since rename?

    Steve

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    plexer's Avatar
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    Or 3dtin or even <shudders> blender (well - you did say FreeCad was easy!). I'd think even OpenScad might be OK depending on the aims of the lesson and the age of the students.

    Amazing to hear someone is doing this in a Primary School. Good luck!

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    Thanks for the speedy replies everyone!

    Printcraft looks amazing - I certainly wouldn't need to encourage anyone to use it either! Not ideal as the plots only last a week, but may use it for "Design Your Own Castle" competition later in the year. Doodle3D too! Might have to put in a pre-order for that box.

    We did consider using SketchUp, although we couldn't find a way of getting it to work in a way that would suit us. Can't exactly remember what it was now! Will look into it again.

    I thought 3DTin was fantastic when we first looked at it - however they make saving it as an .stl file surprisingly difficult. You had to send it to them as another file if I remember correctly.

    FreeCAD is a bit fiendish, but we're only keeping them in the "Part" menu for now - building up a simple robot using set 3D shapes, resizing and transforming them, combining parts and cutting eventually. Maybe doing some edges if we have time. I doubt we'll use any of the other menus!

    I'll check out OpenScad but it looks from the website like it's pure code!

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    plexer's Avatar
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    @rjm30 You only need a Doodle3D box if you want to add that to a printer you don't need one in order to use their s/w when they release it so you can still use your normal workflow.

    OpenScad is more like a programming language but it's quite easy to create simple shapes and then move and take those shapes away from other shapes to end up with a usable 3d model.

    Ben

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    Quote Originally Posted by rjm30 View Post
    I'll check out OpenScad but it looks from the website like it's pure code!
    OpenSCAD is pure code but it is also interactive enough that feedback to making changes is quick (so if you change the placement of a part, you just press F5 and see the effect). You can use it with something like InkScape to extrude more complex shapes (via DXF). I'd think it would be useable if well planned - i.e. you provide templates which are building blocks to the final outcomes for anything too complex. Depends really what you want to teach them - the term 3d printing could cover everything from Arduino programming and wiring up stepper motors through the behaviour of different materials when extruding (or different kinds of additive manufacturing processes) to just picking stuff off thingverse and printing. I'm currently building my second 3d printer (a Mendel 90) and I'm still learning new stuff by the bucketful!
    Last edited by pcstru; 1st October 2013 at 11:41 AM.

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    We had a look and thinks it's great! They currently haven't had much experience of typed code - we build them up with programming from Year 3, culminating in doing a webpage with HTML. I'll have a think about swapping over...

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    plexer's Avatar
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    My OpenScad is quick and dirty but it still amazes me that this:

    Code:
    full_leg = 1;
    
    module clamp(){
    difference(){
    union(){
    translate([-2,0,0]) cube([30,20,10]);
    translate([0,0,0]) rotate([0,90,90]) cylinder(r=2,h=20,$fn=50);
    translate([26,0,0]) rotate([0,90,90]) cylinder(r=2,h=20,$fn=50);
    translate([-22,0,8.5]) cube([70,20,3]);
    }
    translate([2.5,0,3]) cube([21,20,15]);
    translate([-12,10,8.5]) cylinder(r=3.2/2,h=4);
    translate([38,10,8.5]) cylinder(r=3.2/2,h=4);
    }
    }
    
    module leg(){
    difference(){
    union(){
    cube([3,100,20]);
    translate([23,0,0]) cube([3,100,20]);
    translate([0,100,10]) rotate([0,90,0]) cylinder(r=10,h=26,$fn=6);
    translate([0,45,0]) cube([26,10,20]);
    }
    translate([3,80,0]) cube([20,20,20]);
    translate([-3,85,10]) rotate([0,90,0]) cylinder(r=4,h=32);
    translate([-3,65,10]) rotate([0,90,0]) cylinder(r=4,h=32);
    translate([-3,35,10]) rotate([0,90,0]) cylinder(r=4,h=32);
    translate([-3,15,10]) rotate([0,90,0]) cylinder(r=4,h=32);
    }
    }
    
    if (full_leg == 1){
    rotate([90,0,0]) clamp();
    leg();
    }
    {
    rotate([90,0,0]) clamp();
    }
    Produces a next object.

    Ben

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    Amazing! Am definitely considering moving onto this for the higher ability children who finish first.

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    I've not looked in any detail yet but 123 Design from Autodesk may be worth a look.

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    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    How has it gone with the Cube3D?

    Happy?

    Would you recommend it?

    Simon

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    Someone PM'd me recently about my thoughts on doing this so far, so I'll paste in what I wrote - let me know if there's anything else that would be of use!

    We decided that we wanted to get a 3D printer for our ICT department - the primary school where I teach is subject taught, so I have dedicated ICT lessons with Reception up to Year 6. I wanted to make the 3D printing project cross-curricular with Art/DT and Maths into a big project, but I found it difficult to explain what I was doing to those teachers and so decided to go it alone for a term instead.

    We looked around at a lot of different 3D printers and eventually chose this one:Cube 3D printer tech specs. We considered building our own - cheaper and more reliable - but got cold feet as the Headteacher was expecting results and I was terrified of messing up the building part! Cube3D sell themselves as being the most user-friendly, which they may well be but there's also quite a big lie about how simple printing is - it's not. You have to calibrate it perfectly every time or it won't work. With practice it gets easier, but it's certainly not as hassle-free as they present it to be. It is also very slow - I printed a teacup and it took 4-5 hours. Not a problem necessarily, but something to consider if you have to print 50 separate models (which I did!)

    I wouldn't particularly recommend Cube3D model 2 for a few reasons, but it looks like it's already been updated to Cube3D 3 - I imagine they've ironed out a lot of the issues we had. Having said that their help team were incredibly good (once we were able to get in touch with them!). I've heard very good things about CubeX (CubeX features & specs | Cubify.com) and Makerbot (https://www.makerbot.com/) but I think these are more expensive. Also it's worth mentioning that the materials are very cheap, so no need to worry about that element.

    In the end, I decided to get my Year 6s to design robots using a free CAD software I found on the internet - FREECAD (FreeCAD: An Open Source parametric 3D CAD modeler). I wouldn't recommend this! Firstly, 3D printers are still very basic and they really need to print models with a strong base or they collapse a bit - buildings, castles etc would be perfect. Robots with stick-thin legs are definitely not! Secondly, the CAD software we used was extremely glitchy - free and simple enough for primary children to use (difficult to find one that is both), but badly designed.

    If I could go back and redo everything again, I would get the children to build something like a castle using this program I later found - Autodesk 123D Design. Brilliant and simple, with lots of templates that children can easily adapt themselves. If each child could get an email account to run it off it would be even better!

    I think that's all I can remember about it. Feel free to ask away though - I know how little there is out there about this as a teaching topic!

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    For printing this may work 3D Builder app for Windows in the Windows Store I have no way to test it though.

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