Many 3-D printing companies have developed substantial resources to help teachers ,  with large collections of free learning aid designs ,  . 3D printers can be powerful tools for education as:
- Open-source 3D printing provides a cost efficient means of STEM education.
- These technologies can also empower student-driven engaged learning.
Some benefits of 3D printing educational aids include:
- provides teachers with 3D visual aids that they can use in their classroom to illustrate challenging concepts
- 3D printers are cool so easier to get student interest as compared to 2D pictures
- Can enhance hands-on learning and learning by doing by having students make their own learning aids and all the concomitant skills associated with it (e.g. using OS CAD software)
As we know, distributed 3-D printing can often radically reduce costs and make real scientific equipment available even in schools. This is particularly important for schools in developing regions. In this assignment we will leverage basic science and design to help k-12 teachers make any subject easier to teach with learning aids at a low cost.
Assignment[edit | edit source]
- Identify a science hardware for children / educational aid that you would like to design to be an open source 3D printable technology
- Make sure someone else has not already done it : Yeggi More than one of you can tackle the same technology in a different way. You may also improve upon existing designs if you do so in a significant way.
- Design 3D printable components with ONLY OpenSCAD
- Publish a picture, stl and source code for your design on https://www.myminifactory.com/ and make sure to add it to the correct subject and grade level for https://www.myminifactory.com/category/education
- In the description on MyMiniFactory explain what your device is trying to teach, include theory, equations, links to Wikipedia etc. - whatever is relevant. Include the approximate cost of your print and then compare it to a commercial offering with their price and a hyperlink if available.
- Then add picture, link to your project page,cost savings if any, hyperlink to commercial equivalent in gallery below following the examples.
- Print education aid and drop it off in box in MSE main office of M&M building with your name on/in it - See due dates on syllabus
Grading[edit | edit source]
- 20% Print quality
- 30% Documentation
- 25% Design (design for printing, plastic minimization)
- 25% Function - Does it work? (e.g. could it actually help teach someone something)
Automatic reductions: -50% no source or the use of non-OS software -10% per day for late
Gallery[edit | edit source]
Add your image and link the gallery below in a single line after the last one in the list
Binary Calculator Educational Aid, No Commercial Variant, Cost ~$5
System for teaching Pulley, Springs, and Mass relationships Cost savings ~ $14 
Ping-pong Anemometer No commercial alternative, 3D printing material cost ~$10
Velocity Profile Toy Printing Cost ~ $1 No Commercial Equivalent
Levers and Pulleys Science Education Toy My Mini Factory Design Link, School Specialty Shop version - Commercially sold at $82.19, Printing cost + hardware ~$14.00
References[edit | edit source]
- Chelsea Schelly, Gerald Anzalone, Bas Wijnen, Joshua M. Pearce, (2015). Open-source 3-D printing Technologies for education: Bringing Additive Manufacturing to the Classroom.Journal of Visual Languages & Computing. 28(2015)226–237. DOI: 10.1016/j.jvlc.2015.01.004 open access
- J.M. Pearce, “Commentary: Open-source hardware for research and education”, Physics Today 66(11), 8 (2013); doi: 10.1063/PT.3.2160
- J. Gwamuri, Joshua M. Pearce, "Open source 3D printers: an appropriate technology for building low cost optics labs for the developing communities", Proc. SPIE 10452, 14th Conference on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics: ETOP 2017, 104522S (16 August 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2269852; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.2269852 open access