We’ve seen 3D printing go to the stars and back, more or less literally. With all the expanding uses in high-tech industries like aerospace and semiconductors, we also need to remember to look closer to home… including in our own homes, to children. It’s today’s children, after all, who will really benefit the most from 3D printing as the technology continues to improve while their generation grows up.

The startup 3DP4E means 3D Printing for Everyone, and they mean it. Their mission statement “is to empower through design, technology and 3dp4eentrepreneurism.” 3DP4E has been working to ensure that the “Everyone” in their name includes children, bringing 3D printing to educational facilities like schools, as well as libraries and museums, where children can get some hands-on experience.

3DP4E has teamed up with Shapeways for support from an established company with real for-the-people 3D printing know-how. Shapeways is supporting 3DP4E as they expand and, now, bring 3D printing to a new exhibition. “Into the Third Dimension: 3D Printing for Young Artists” is shapeways logoa new exhibit at New York City’s Children’s Museum of the Arts which just opened November 20th and will run through January 11, 2015.

“CMA is delighted to partner with 3DP4E to draw attention to new techniques in artmaking,” said CMA Executive Director Barbara Hunt McLanahan. “The Museum is very proud of our permanent collection of over 2,000 pieces of children’s art from around the world, and we are always looking for new ways to encourage visitors to really look at and engage with these works. This exhibition showcases our collection while introducing children, their parents, and caregivers to a new art making technique — 3D modeling and 3D printing.”

The CMA exhibit will showcase some two-dimensional pieces from their permanent collection with a 3D printed element from each work. A dinosaur, for example, may come into three dimensions in front of its 2D likeness, or a baseball player may look really ready to swing into the air near a painting of a ballgame.

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“3DP4E is about nurturing and expressing creativity and this exhibition presents a fantastic conduit for that. This partnership with CMA — arguably the city’s leading expert in engaging children through artistic endeavor and expression – will empower children and students through design and technology,” said Ron Rose, CEO and founder of 3DP4E. “We provide the technology, CMA makes it fun and educational. We are thrilled to help bring this exciting project to fruition.”

To help its visitors understand the process, the CMA will also present a short film that details 3D printing based on a 2D drawing. Kids love movies, but just watching a film won’t really provide a complete educational experience. Drawing workshops led by a CMA Teaching Artist will be held throughout the duration of the exhibition. From these workshops’ participants (ages 5 and older), 20 winners will be randomly selected to have their drawings rendered into 3D and printed by Shapeways.

The drawing workshops — “Experimenting with Dimensions” — will be held on five Saturdays throughout the exhibition. The workshops will run from 10 AM to 5 PM on November 22nd, December 6th and 13th, and January 3rd and 10th. The 20 winners whose artwork will go 3D will be invited to a presentation ceremony of the finished pieces in late January or early February, following Shapeways’ printing.

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In addition to the CMA exhibition, 3DP4E has also launched a new website aimed at young artists. Kids Creation Station uses “3D printing technology to visualize your child’s imagination in a three dimensional space.” In about a 4-week turnaround, a child’s artwork can be rendered into 3D designs and then 3D printed and shipped out. The site also features an online portal where kids can create and share portfolios of their artwork. For $100 for the first model (and $60 for additional prints), parents can get a 3D model of their child’s artwork. Per KCS, the completed order will include:kids

  • Your child’s artwork as a 4 inch 3D Printed Sculpture
  • An openable diorama case
  • A full-color background insert for the diorama case
  • Lots of love

With Shapeways’ support, 3DP4E is really bringing 3D printing to new frontiers and a new, young audience. What do you think about the initiative? Will you be visiting the CMA exhibit? Let us know what you think at the 3DP4E/Shapeways Artist forum thread over at 3DPB.com.

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