3D Printing in Education - a practical introduction

3D printing is now an established and affordable technology and is finding its way into many schools and classrooms. Many forward-thinking, innovative and pioneering teachers have realised the power of 3D printing in the teaching and learning of many subject areas.

Creating 3D models in software and then using 3D printing to allow pupils to actually hold a physical version of the model in their hand has obvious benefits in Design and Technical courses. But 3D printing can also be a powerful tool in teaching and learning mathematics, computing science, sciences, art and design, geography, history… the list goes on. 3D printing can be used to enrich, enliven and add fun to many curricular topics at all levels from Early Years, through Primary and Secondary.

This one day course will introduce you to the process of creating simple 3D models on a computer, setting up a 3D printer, preparing a model for printing, printing and will include tips and tricks for finishing prints and troubleshooting. Various ideas for using 3D printing in the classroom and subject areas will be featured and discussed.

This is a hands-on course and will emphasise developing your practical skills in 3D modelling and using a 3D printer. It is ideal for those with no experience of 3D printing who want to explore the possibilities of its use in the classroom or those with a little experience of 3D printing who want to build their confidence and share ideas for using 3D printing in teaching and learning. If you already have a 3D printer or are considering buying one then this course will be invaluable.

All software, printers, filament and tools are provided.

Course aims

To develop teachers' knowledge of, practical skills and confidence in the 3D printing process and the use of 3D printing for teaching and learning

To provide the opportunity for teachers to explore and discuss the use of the 3D printing in the classroom and various curricular areas

Who this course is for

This course is for you if…

  • You are an Early Years, Primary or Secondary teacher or manager who wants to learn how to create 3D models and use a 3D printer
  • You are considering buying a 3D printer for your school or classroom and you would like an introduction to 3D printing, a go at using a 3D printer and advice on making a purchase
  • You already own a 3D printer and would like an opportunity to explore ways of using it effectively to support teaching and learning
  • You teach Design and Technology courses and want to develop your knowledge and skills in 3D printing

What you need to know

This is an introductory course and requires no knowledge of 3D printing or 3D modelling software. You do not need any skills in using tools or any technical knowledge at all. If you do have some this course is still suitable for you though.

Basic skills with the computer are needed – using the keyboard, moving and pointing the mouse

If you can move, point and click a mouse, find a few keys on the keyboard and are willing to have some fun making 3D models and prints (that you can take home with you) then this course is for you.

Knowledge and skills needed to undertake this course

This course is an introductory course and does not require and previous knowledge

Come along and start your journey in 3D Printing here

Content summary

Below is an overview of the topics covered in this course.

  • Overview of 3D printing technologies
  • Printer types, price ranges, quality and choices
  • Setting up a 3D printer
  • Classroom management of 3D printing
  • 3D modelling software and techniques
  • Preparing 3D models for printing - Slicing
  • 3D printing parts and models
  • Troubleshooting printing issues
  • Choice and costs of materials
  • Other tools you may need
  • Maintenance of a 3D printer
  • Ideas for fun educational 3D printing projects

Course content in detail

  • Overview of 3D printing technologies
    • The process of 3D printing from modelling, through printing to finishing
    • SLA, FDM, SLS, SLM, EBM, LOM – what all these are and what they mean
  • Printer types, price ranges, quality and choices
    • Choosing a printer suitable for classroom use
    • Printer form factors available
    • Price, quality and reliability – what to consider
  • Setting up a 3D printer
    • Unboxing
    • Bed levelling
    • Preparing and feeding filament
    • Printer controls
  • Classroom management of 3D printing
    • Health and Safety with 3D printers
    • Siting printers
    • Noise and odour
    • Understanding print times
  • 3D modelling software and techniques
    • Finding and using ready-made 3D models
    • Software availability and choices
    • Choosing appropriate software
    • Free and paid-for software options
    • Creating models using simple 3D modelling techniques
    • Orientation of models
    • Modelling with 3D printing in mind – size, orientation, overhangs, supports
    • Exporting for 3D printing and file formats
  • Preparing 3D models for printing – Slicing
    • What slicing is
    • Slicing software choices
    • Slicing settings and their impact on final print quality and characteristics
  • 3D printing parts and models
    • Loading files into the printer
    • Printing
  • Troubleshooting printing issues
    • Suitability of the 3D model
    • Bed adhesion and levelling issues
    • Managing print times
    • Avoiding filament blockages
  • Choice and costs of materials
    • Filament choices – ABS, PLA, Nylon etc.
    • Characteristics and uses of various printing materials
    • What material to use when
    • Filament quality issues
    • Running costs of 3D printing
  • Other tools you may need
    • For printer maintenance
    • For levelling and printing
    • For finishing parts and models
  • Maintenance of a 3D printer
    • Levelling
    • Changing filament
    • Unblocking
    • Maintenance checks
  • Ideas for fun educational 3D printing projects
    • Educational 3D printing projects from around the world
    • Sources of information, models and ideas