3D printing education is all the rage, as it becomes clear that the technology is capable of capturing the attention of young and old, teachers and students alike. Some students may be formally getting introduced to 3D printing through school curricula emphasizing 3D printing, while others may be simply getting exposure at home or through friends and family members. The fact that MakerBot hit an impressive one million uploads last October shows that it’s not just professional designers and engineers sharing their designs on Thingiverse. In fact, there are plenty of student designers out there: here’s a sample of five contributions from students, as MakerBot recently shared.
Matt Sauer is a high school student who got the idea to design a medication bottle opener because his father suffers from Multiple Sclerosis. The opener lies flat on the table; one early version of it included a handle, and there’s now one available without a handle. You simply tip the medication bottle upside down into the opener and turn it. No wonder Matt has already had several sales reps interested in marketing his medication bottle opener: it seems like a great idea.
Our next student design is inspired by a team of students, ages 13-17, in Greece who collaborate on designing and 3D printing famous monuments. These workshops are hosted at the UTech Lab, which is supported by the US Embassy in Athens. They’ve also designed Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, the Parthenon, Belem Tower, and Sagrada Familia, and they have 9 more to go in this series of 15 monuments. Each design is added to a 3D printed map of Europe after it is printed. This is quite the project, integrating science, technology, and European/architectural history into one long-term educational endeavor.
Another student design aimed at helping disabled people with basic everyday tasks is this EasyFork that makes it easier for people who have gripping problems to feed themselves. This fork was designed by Brian Thornber, who is an 11th grader with hopes for a future in 3D printing. Thornber is off to a good start with this design that he 3D printed on an XYZ Da Vinci 1.0. In order to see for yourself how easy it is to use this fork, check out the YouTube video on the design page. The fork design has been downloaded 151 times since it was posted in early October 2015, which is good news for Thornber’s future aspirations to be a 3D printing engineer.
Yuval Dascalu is a 15-year-old Israeli student who used Inventor and Cura to design and print this music box that is made of 3 different parts: a handle, a base, and a wheel. Dascalu admits that designing the box was not an easy task, and every part failed in the beginning, with the handle breaking when it was simply touched. But, demonstrating a strong commitment to the design, Dascalu continued to alter it until the plastic parts stayed together and actually played music!
Last in this review of awesome 3D designs by students, we have an educational model of a bacteriophage by Aidan Leitch from New York. Aidan is very active in the Thingiverse community, going by XYZAidan and creating several impressive designs, and taught himself much about 3D design and printing principles from messing around with his own 3D printer. This particular model has helped blind students better understand the concept of how a virus infects a cell/bacteria, and Aidan has contributed 37 other designs that you can check out on his Thingiverse page. Discuss in the Thingiverse 3D Prints forum over at 3DPB.com.