3D printing is a technology most adults are mesmerized and awed by. Many children today, though, already take it for granted as an accepted process for creating things. Both its simplicity and potential for innovation seem to make obvious sense for students of all ages who intuitively take to 3D design and printing. We see this continually today in schools around the world, along with public libraries and other workshop venues. And the products they are making are certainly not limited to key chains and Star Wars novelty items. Kids today are making everything from chess sets for the visually impaired to 3D printed prosthetics for those in need around the world.
3D printing is not just an obvious fit for creative kids—it is also the path to a future in so many careers, from art and jewelry design to architecture and engineering—and far more. Obviously, the scientists at Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU) are thinking along those lines too, as they have just created educational engineering equipment for younger students. In their FabLab Polytech at the University, they made the DFKit for both engineering and technology classes.
The DFKit includes:
- 3D scanner
- 3D printer
- Laser and milling machines
- Additional instructional materials for the hardware
That’s definitely far over the top in comparison to the usual ‘kit’ one might expect to see, offering enough resources to turn any classroom into a 3D printing lab—and it’s a wonderful thought, imagining how excited young students in Russia must be to receive such tools. According to SPbPU, the key features in these kits are “simplicity, unified management, and safety for children.: The kits will be supplied to classrooms, creative centers, and ‘amateur’ labs on the smaller scale.
“This idea came up as we started 3D modeling and prototyping intensive courses for schoolchildren, where participants get the task, a set of tools and materials for its implementation,” says Polina Dyatlova, Director of the Center for Scientific and Technical Creativity of Youth at SPbPU.
“Children would design models and adults cut future project parts on the industrial machines. Kids have always wanted to control the production process but it was too difficult and not safe. So, we decided to create educational equipment that will bring more children into engineering, allowing them to manage the whole production cycle from a draft to the final product by themselves.”
This innovative, educational project is part of a collaboration with Photomechanics, and is also being supported by the Foundation for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises in Science and Technology in Russia. Ultimately, the scientists behind the DFKits hope to see them in labs that are focusing on digital production all over Russia. Discuss in the FabLab Polytech forum at 3DPB.com.
FabLab Polytech, operating from within the Center for Scientific and Technical Creativity of Youth at SPbPU, was created in 2013, again in partnership with Photomechanics.[All images provided to 3DPrint.com by SPbPU]