3D Printing in the Classroom – Overview, 15 Resources & Advice

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If you are thinking of diving into 3D printing in the classroom, there are plenty of things to consider. It took me years to learn one thing – the printer by itself is not enough to keep students engaged. It is better to use the 3D printer to augment bigger projects.

Here are some examples of those other projects that can be augmented with a 3D printer:

There are two parts to 3D printing in the classroom: 3D Designing and 3D printing

Designing with TinkerCAD

TinkerCAD is the easiest way to get started. It’s easy to learn but powerful once you learn the tools.

Here is how I teach it in class!

Managing your classroom 3D printers

I prefer to have many, cheaper printers. Innovative Arts students run these printers themselves! We use the free program Cura

But what are the specific benefits of introducing 3D printing in the classroom?

Let’s take a closer look. 

Accessibility 

One of the biggest advantages of 3D printing lies in its accessibility. In the past, when educators needed to produce something, they had to rely on expensive tools like laser cutters and CNC mills. With 3D printing, however, even complex objects can be made with relatively low cost equipment. This makes it possible for teachers to bring more hands-on activities into their classrooms without having to invest heavily in costly machinery. 

In addition, 3D printing is more accessible than ever before. There are now plenty of online services available that offer 3D prints at low prices and with fast turnaround times. This means that teachers no longer have to wait weeks or months for their prints to be completed. They can get their prints quickly and easily, making it easier than ever to incorporate 3D printing into a lesson plan or project. 

Engagement 

3D printing provides an engaging way for students to explore concepts in an interactive way. Students can use the technology to create physical models of abstract concepts such as molecules or mathematical equations—allowing them to better visualize these concepts and gain a deeper understanding of them. The tactile nature of 3D printed objects also helps keep students interested and engaged throughout the lesson or activity, helping them retain information more effectively than if they were simply reading about it from a textbook or hearing someone lecture on it in class. 

Creativity – half the reason for 3D printing in the classroom!

Finally, one of the most exciting aspects of introducing 3D printing into classrooms is its potential for inspiring creativity among students. As they experiment with different designs and materials, students can develop innovative solutions for problems they encounter—and even invent entirely new products! By enabling children to explore their own ideas freely without fear of failure or judgment, 3D printing encourages creative problem solving skills which will serve them well as they progress through school and eventually enter the workforce as adults. 

Bringing Engineering Projects to Life 

One of the most exciting uses of 3D printing in classrooms is bringing engineering projects to life. In an age where STEM skills are highly sought after by employers, teaching these skills effectively is key. With 3D printing, students can take their designs from theory into reality with tangible objects that they designed themselves! This helps bring concepts such as CAD design to life in ways that are much easier for student to understand than traditional textbook-based approaches. 

Enhancing Art Classes 

3D printing also has the potential to enhance art classes too! For example, teachers can allow students to create their own sculptures using 3D printers instead of traditional materials like clay or marble. This can open up new possibilities for student creativity while teaching them how to use modern technology properly. Plus it’s a great way to get kids interested in art as they learn how they can express themselves through sculpture without having any prior experience or knowledge on the subject matter! 

Incorporating Technology into Other Subjects 

3D printing isn’t just limited to STEM and art classes either – it has potential applications across all subjects! For instance, history classes could use it to have students create models of ancient artifacts or buildings. Science classes could explore topics like anatomy with 3D printed models of organs or cells. The possibilities are endless when it comes to incorporating this technology into other subjects! 

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As you can see, there are many ways teachers can incorporate 3D printing in the classrooms in order to empower students and enhance learning experiences. Whether it’s engineering projects, art classes, or other subjects – this modern technology has plenty of potential applications that will help teachers engage their students while teaching them valuable skills they need for success later in life! So why not consider adding some 3D printing activities into your lesson plans? You never know what amazing ideas your students may come up with!

Here are other projects to consider – they’re all fun!

3D printing is transforming education by providing teachers with an accessible tool for creating hands-on learning opportunities that engage students and encourage creative thinking. From creating physical models of abstract concepts to inspiring innovative solutions for real-world problems, this technology is enabling educators everywhere to unlock new levels of potential within their classrooms. So why not give it a try? You may just find yourself pleasantly surprised by how much your students learn—and how much fun they have doing it!


I am creating this site to advance student creativity and help students to take ownership of their learning. The resources on this site are intentionally open-ended and a part of my Innovative Arts curriculum.

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