I remember as a young child, begging my mother to take me to the grocery store with her each week, for the mere fact that it meant she would give me a handful of quarters to feed into the gumball machine in the front of the store. Quite honestly I never really liked gumballs, but I was drawn by the entertainment value that I would receive from sliding my quarters into the slot, turning the knob, and watching as my gumball would move down the winding slide and into the compartment where my hand would eagerly be awaiting its fall. I’ve since outgrown my addiction to gumball machines, but I must admit I do still get a little excited each time I see one.
Back in May, we did a story on a 3rd year Industrial Technology teacher who’s currently teaching at both Shelbyville and Windsor High Schools in Illinois, named Corben White. He had found a really interesting method of teaching his senior level drafting class about 3D printing. He had assigned his students a project to design and 3D print CO2 race cars which they were then tasked with racing against one another for classroom supremacy. Since that story ran, White tells us that he has had teachers from all around the country contact him about the project, and he was even asked to speak at a local college. At the same time, White has been up to some new tricks when it comes to 3D printing technology and integrating it into the classroom environment.
One of the challenges that teachers face when trying to introduce 3D printing into a curriculum is how in the world they can create a project that can keep students interested while at the same time teaching them something that could potentially help them once they enter the workforce. White seemingly doesn’t have too many problems with this, as seen in his latest 3D printed creation, THE Printed Jelly Bean Dispenser.
“I really enjoy taking old/classic woodworking projects and turning them into functional and modern 3D printed designs,” White tells 3DPrint.com. “I happened to stumble upon some pictures of an old wooden jelly bean dispenser which is what I loosely based my design on. I was also looking for a project to show my students how to complete a basic assembly drawing using Autodesk Inventor.”
White wanted to keep the design process as simple as he possibly could so that it would be easy to both print and assemble. He found that most of the other candy dispensers on Thingiverse required the 3D printing of many different parts or parts that used up a lot of filament.
“My design takes roughly 6 hours to print out every part — depending on your settings of course,” White tells us. “I also wanted my dispenser to be very easy to use so small children could use it. I plan on bringing the dispenser to events to promote my CAD class and 3D printing in general, and it will be a very fun and interactive object for people to use.”
In order to 3D print his machine, White used his Aluminum Mendel as well as his school’s flexMendel. Both printers were designed by David Kennell and Open Source Classroom, as White really tries to promote open source to his students as much as possible.
So how exactly does THE Jelly Bean Dispenser work? It’s really quite simple and self-explanatory. Once it is assembled after being 3D printed, you throw in some jelly beans or other small candy through an opening at the top. Then you simply turn the knob and watch as the candy drops down and into your eagerly awaiting hands.
“I plan on redesigning this machine a little and adding an adjustable shaft and knob as well as creating a Plinko style Dispenser,” White tells us. “I try to focus my CAD lessons on practical problems while also challenging my students in fun and innovative ways.”
What White is doing seems to be working, and it also seems to be garnering the attention of other teachers and educational institutions around the US. It should be interesting to follow White and his future 3D printing lesson plans, as certainly they won’t let us down.
What do you think about this unique creation, and the methodology that White uses for teaching his students about CAD design and 3D printing? Discuss in the 3D Printed Jelly Bean Dispenser forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video of White’s machine in action below.