One of the most difficult parts of 3-D printing is the designing. You have to be able to “see” the item you want to create conceptually and then use computer aided design software to make a viable model. New Kickstarter campaign BlocksCAD aims to eliminate the CAD-3D printing hurdle by making CAD so simple that kids can use it.
BlocksCAD is a drag-and-drop CAD program and modeling tool that was designed specifically for elementary school age kids.
It’s a homebrew program created by the people behind Einstein’s Workshop, a Massachusetts-based hands-on learning center where children and adults can explore and learn to appreciate science, technology, engineering and math by learning how to use 3-D printers and playing with things such as LEGO and K’nex. Instructors at Einstein’s Workshop have successfully used the program to teach 3D design to younger children.
According to the campaign’s Kickstarter page, it features “interlocking blocks and sliders, simple shapes, and quick visual 3D feedback.” The software’s simplicity reportedly allows children to “get” CAD quickly and easily. The team at Einstein’s Workshop want to further develop and refine the program, which is described as being in the “alpha” stage, and release it as open-source software to anyone who wants to use it. The group is trying to raise $42,000 for the further development BlocksCAD. Stretch goals for the campaign include a standalone desktop version of the software and an educational workbook. So far, the campaign has raised more than $2000 in the early going.
When it comes to STEM, the United States is lagging. Though the nation has enjoyed a status as a top tier STEM nation in the past, today, it ranks No. 25 in mathematics and No. 17 in science among industrialized nations. One of the biggest reasons the U.S. is falling behind in STEM is because kids just aren’t interested in it. In American high schools, only 16 percent of seniors are math proficient and interested in working in a STEM-related field.
While U.S. President Barack Obama has said that he wants students in the U.S. to “move from the middle to the top of the pack in science and math” within a decade, it has been local innovators and programs like Einstein’s Workshop that have been working on the ground to reignite and ignite a love of all things STEM in America’s children.
To learn more about BlocksCAD, visit their Kickstarter campaign page here. Have you backed this project? Let us know in the BlocksCAD forum thread on 3DPB.com. Below you will find BlocksCAD Kickstarter pitch video.
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