lems-logoIf you’re interested in 3D printing, Loveland, Colorado might just be the place for you. This city, just north of Denver, is after all, home to Aleph Objects, Inc. and the famed line of Lulzbot Printers, and one school is definitely benefiting from this.

In a recent case study, the LulzBot team gave us a glimpse into how Lucile Erwin Middle School is introducing their students to 3D printing—and how these young designers are quickly learning to design products that are fully functional and useful. As 3D printing technology has continued to become more accessible and affordable, schools are benefiting worldwide, and this is a topic we touch on often as the importance for graduates to have the 3D skillset grows, and jobs continue to remain open waiting for those with the knowledge. Today, we see 3D education beginning at all ages, with even the youngest generally enjoying the intuitive aspects of the software and hardware—as well as becoming very excited at the prospects of what can be designed and made.

At Lucile Erwin, the focus is on using 3D printing to teach students how to better solve problems.

“Our school is an International Baccalaureate school that focuses a lot on design thinking, and to have the software and the hardware that allows and fosters that design thinking, that creativity, that entrepreneurship piece is 21st century,” Jacob Marshall, a TED instructor at Lucile Erwin Middle School, said. “We are meeting the needs of the students and hopefully the demands in the future.”

And as most would agree, these students are very lucky to have access to the LulzBot Mini 3D printer. So far, under Marshall’s instruction, they have created things like ear-bud holders, prototypes for carrying grocery bags—and in another more advanced class, they have even 3D printed truck parts, originating from a Thingiverse design, which resulted in a remote control vehicle. Make sure to check out the video below, as it’s quite amazing!

“LulzBot 3D printers are so user friendly I don’t have to maintain them or monitor them…and the kids can be super rough with them and they’re durable,” Marshall said. “What I also like about them is that their parts that make up the LulzBot 3D printers are 3D printed, so…if something goes down, we have all those files…that we can just print out.”

That’s certainly not something you can say about most machines—or even other 3D printers, and it adds a whole new level of education for the students in terms of maintenance, and ultimately, how a 3D printer is built. They also have access to Cura LulzBot Edition, making the process that much more user-friendly and fun with hundreds of built-in profiles for more than 30 materials, easy scaling of the 3D objects they are creating, options for support structures, and more.

lulzbot-mini-1Marshall’s class is very popular with the students as they become aware of what the others are learning.

“You get the overwhelming support for the class and the fight for the class to get in,” Marshall said. “You have a lot of kids who really want to be in here because they know they’ll have access to that type of technology.”

Some of the students already say they think they might like to pursue a career in engineering after becoming involved in this important aspect of STEM education.

“If you have an environment where you’re going to implement any type of design thinking, any type of prototyping product-driven type class, you’ve got to get a LulzBot 3D printer,” Marshall said. “It’s too easy for you as a teacher, it’s too easy for the kids and once they get the training, they just fly with it.”

You can find out more about the amazing students at Lucile Erwin Middle School here, and if you are interested in finding out about the educational programs available with LulzBot printers, see here. Discuss in the LulzBot Mini forum at 3DPB.com.

[Source: LulzBot / Photos licensed CC BY-SA 4.0 International © Lucile Erwin Middle School. Video licensed CC BY © Lucile Erwin Middle School.]

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