A few years ago, I made a series of videos that taught how to use TinkerCAD – a free, simple 3D modelling program that kids can learn. It was a first attempt – so it isn’t very good. That said, it remains the most useful and visited page on this site. It needs to be improved and redone.
Learning how to 3D design is something that many people expect to be bad at – and are surprised as they figure it out and get good at it. It can be used as a tool for engineers, produce beautiful designs, multi-step mechanisms, produce products for entrepreneurs, prototype and think through so many topics.
Extending 3D design is to physically print the student work. Unfortunately, this isn’t common in our schools, even if the printers are cheap. The reason 3D printing is somewhat rare inside of schools is because of the maintenance that 3D printers require. They’re finicky. When they break down, fixing them can be an issue – specifically, figuring out what is wrong is the first hurdle. It’s really too bad – it is such a powerful learning tool. Re-doing the resource on 3D printing will have to wait.
Updated 3D design lessons:
The updated lessons will have added purposes to them – both learning the tools as well as practicing the controls. I’ve learned that students really need the practice with the controls, most of the problems and frustrations come from the controls.
Lesson 1 – Controls and basics
Lesson 2 – Holes, solids, and groupings, additional practice with zoom
Lesson 3 – Work plan and colors, additional practice with panning
Lesson 4 – Workplane and align, additional practice with panning and zoom
Lesson 5 – Putting it all together, practicing with the mirror function
Lesson 6 – Duplicate!