Heroes of 3D Printing – Educator Josh Ajima Brings 3D Printed Art to the Gumball Machine

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gum2Josh Ajima is a teacher and 3D printing evangelist, and through his Design Make Teach sites, he blogs about making in the classroom. He is the Technology Resource Teacher for the Loudoun Academy of Science and Dominion High School. Ajima earned his Bachelor’s degree in chemistry at the University of Virginia, and since that time he’s s taught high school chemistry, 8th grade physical science, 7th grade life science, and Cisco Networking. Ajima also serverd as the Director of Instructional Technology for Clarke County Public Schools and taught at Dominion High School.

Back in 2012, he helped plan a TEDx event aimed at getting a 3D printer for his school, but when that effort fell through, Ajima bought a 3D printer for his students in northern Virginia from his personal funds.

As part of his overall vision for bringing 3D printing to the public, Ajima recently unveiled The Incredible 3D Printing Gumball Gallery at the Virginia Society for Technology in Education Conference. He calls The Hackerspace Heroes of 3D Printing: Designers and Artists Series #1, his project for making items to vend through the gumball machine, “the first curated set of models that showcases the work of some of the top designers and artists in the world.”

“The use of a vending machine as the basis for the art installation embraces the joys of childhood,” Ajima says. “As patrons interact with the 3D Gumball Gallery, they rediscover the kinesthetic sensation of the mechanical and the moment of suspense before popping open the capsule and revealing the contents. The random dispensing of models and colors asks the patron to closely examine a work other than one they would have picked for themselves.”B4XB8BFIMAA73sg

Each model includes a printed insert which outlines information about the artist-designers and also features links to the design file for the model. The artist-designers collaborated as to the selection of the works — and even helped write the inserts. The group of 3D artists and designers scaled their models to fit inside two-inch vending capsules.

Ajima says that in future iterations of the series, works from student designs will be included in the gallery.

He plans to take the machine on “a whirlwind tour of school art shows, mini-maker faires, 3D printing workshops, conventions and classrooms.”

Designs were included from artists Kacie Hultgren, Asher Nahmias, Laura Taalman, Isaac Budmen, Christina Chun, Fred Kahl, Chris Krueger, and Carla Diana.

Ajima has also put together a page of resources on his site to lend a hand to any educators who might be interested in pushing a 3D printing teaching agenda at their schools, and you can look at his suggestions here.

Can you think of some other ways teachers, artists, and designers can bring more attention to 3D printing technology? Have you seen other novels ways people are promoting the capabilities of 3D printing? Please let us know what you think in the 3D Print Gumball Machine forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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