Thursday, May 12, 2016

3D Printing Adventures

I received a 3D printer from our district in February.  Many of the librarians in my district received one in the fall, but like the makerspaces, I didn't really understand how I could use it in an Elementary School.  I knew that I didn't want to just be printing off pieces for toys or games that kids found on Thingiverse. If I was going to print things, I wanted them to be authentic and kid created. I have spent this spring learning how to use it myself and trying out different things.

Once I received the printer, an Afinia H480, I got to work learning how to use it.  
It was pretty easy to set up and the first thing I printed was a frog bookmark that I downloaded from Thingiverse.  
Not bad for a first print, but what I hadn't done was put down the BuildTak covering on the plate.  So when I removed the frog, he lost a few pieces :(

Then I used a key chain print from thingiverse and changed it to my name.  
That one worked better and since we have white filament, I was able to use sharpie markers to color it.  

I then wanted to show it to the kids in my coding club, so I created an I LOVE CODING bookmark on Tinkercad that printed while we had coding club.  
The kids were fascinated by the printer.  I showed them the frog bookmark and keychain I printed and I showed them Tinkercad and how I made the bookmark and that was all some of them need to start creating on their own.  Two kids came back the next day asking me to print keychains that they had designed.  

Then our Library Systems Coordinator said, "Ok, now print something that is not flat!"  So I searched Thingiverse for something and found a PawPatrol figure for my nephew.  It was super cool to see how the printer built little support stands for his head, belly and tail and then when it was done printing those pieces just came off really easily.  

Then one of my coding club kids came back and asked me to print a mug that he made for his mom for mother's day.  He built it from scratch using the cylinder and rectangle shapes in Tinkercad.  Not exactly what we expected...

A little small, but we learned about scale and he actually got a kick out it.  I was TOTALLY impressed though!

One of the most functional things that I have printed are spirographs!  Yes, spirographs!  At my fall book fair, I bought 3 sets for the makerspace, but then had second thoughts when I was going to put them out because there were only 3.  Then I thought, "Wait a minute!  I have a 3D printer!"  Sure enough, there are lots of spirographs on Thingiverse.  I found this one and printed out 6 more sets!

They work great and the kids thought it was so neat that I made them on the printer.  

While, I was not completely on board with 3D printing at the beginning, I am glad that I did get one and look forward to using it more with the students next year.  

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