Technology has often been seen as a barrier to parent-child interaction with the imagined scenario of a child glued to a tablet or a parent unable to put down their cell phone and talk to their kids. However, four sets of parents have recognized the potential that 3D printing brings for the creation of more interaction rather than less, all while teaching the kids valuable – and fun – technology skills.
David Seto, Allison Milgrom, Cece Ji, and Patrick Clec’h got to know each other two years ago when they attended a series of 3D printing conferences and meetups. Each is the parent of at least one child between the ages of 3 and 8 and their conversations quickly turned to discussion of the hopes they had for teaching their children about the technology and to the delicate work-life balance they each struggled to create for themselves.
Then, suddenly, they had an idea. What if they took it upon themselves to create a series of tutorials that would have parents and children working together on 3D printing projects? Thus was born the idea behind 3D Roundhouse.
In a press release, the company stated its mission clearly:
“We target young families who enjoy working together on projects at home. 3DRoundhouse.com is the world’s first website for 3D modeling and printing created by parents and kids, for parents and kids! Through its workshops and website, the company bonds families together by designing and creating 3D objects.”
Rather than focusing on creating workshops for children or for adults, 3D Roundhouse works to create opportunities specifically for children and adults to engage 3D printing projects together. They currently offer a starter kit featuring 48 how-to videos designed to familiarize families with 123D Design, Blender, SketchUp, and Tinkercad. In addition to tutorials, 3D Roundhouse offers in-person workshops.
“The videos demonstrate creating the same objects in each of the programs; users can explore and choose the software that best fits their own preferences or learn them all,” they say. “Furthermore, 3D Roundhouse offers the possibility for creating items from ten different industries, such as toy and automotive, that 3D printing will disrupt.”
The US will get a taste of these workshops at the New York City Maker Faire in September–and the company has already begun to run them in Tokyo. The founding partners of 3D Roundhouse reside in New York, Beijing, and Hong Kong, and as such the company has a decidedly international flavor with multilingual blogs and resources available and more in the works.
Instead of taking the kids to see a movie, why not engage them on a journey to making their own drama through 3D printing? Technology doesn’t have to divide the generations and 3D Roundhouse would like to show you exactly how it can work to bring them together.
Is this the sort of organization your family has been waiting for? Have you checked out any of the resources this international team is presenting? Let us know your thoughts in the 3D Roundhouse forum thread over at 3DPB.com.