How does 3D printing work?
3D printing works based on a digital model in a CAD (Computer Aided Design) file, after which a three-dimensional physical object is created. An object is first scanned or an existing scan of an object is used, which is processed using software known as a “slicer”. This slicer converts the model into several thin, two-dimensional layers and creates a file with instructions (G-code), adapted to the specific type of 3D printer.
The 3D printer uses the necessary combination of raw materials (plastic, metal, rubber and other such materials) and then builds the object by adding a layer, 2D layer on 2D layer, until the model is completely designed and finished, according to the design criteria in the original CAD file.
In education, 3D printing has numerous applications and mainly involves obtaining physical objects from the computer screen in the real world in the hands of students. They can use the printed three-dimensional models for analysis and learning, easily manipulating them.
Here are some examples of how universities and students can use such a 3D printer.
- Historical artifacts can be printed for history students for careful examination
- For students who study graphic design, 3D versions of the works of art can be printed
- Topographic, demographic or population maps can be printed for Geography students
- 3D molecule models can be printed for Chemistry students
- For Biology students, a 3D printer can be used to print cells, viruses, organs and other biological elements
- For Mathematics students, 3D models of the problems to be solved can be printed.
Here are some ways in which 3D printing technology can bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds. It’s amazing how 3D printing can translate an object from the digital sphere to the physical one. It is expected that soon, 3D printers will no longer be just luxury gadgets for some students, but extremely useful and important educational tools, ideal for teaching and learning.
3D printing is a tool which helps students conceptualize and visualize designs as they work from the development stages of a sketch to the final product.
The advantages of 3D printing in education
From the growth and development perspective, future designers, engineers and artists will all use 3D printing.
Here are the great benefits of 3D printing for education.
A more in-depth understanding of the subject and concepts
No matter what subject we are talking about, 3D printing can help students and teachers to work better, to move beyond the stage of being mere passive consumers of information on a screen. Unlike conventional classrooms where students easily get bored, they will become active participants and involved in models design and execution.
Students become more involved and enthusiastic
3D printing gives students the opportunity to experiment with projects from the model stage to the actual creation of an object. This brings enthusiasm and a better understanding of the design process. Students will gain a more interactive hands-on experience, from conception to creation.
When students create layer-by-layer projects themselves, individual characteristics are easier to notice and analyze. Details can be analyzed in more detail, not just on a screen or in a textbook. Therefore, 3D printing brings the world of theory to the physical world, where students can see and touch a model. 3D printing gives birth to new learning opportunities and innovative activities.
Access to new knowledge
Since most 3D printers are pre-assembled and plug-and-play, 3D printing is a state-of-the-art technology that is very fun and interactive for students. With the help of 3D models, students learn that it is perfectly acceptable not to give answers at first, but to try to discover new solutions, to improve.
When they understand that failure is part of the process, they will discover new solutions and answers to various problems and concepts. This makes students more confident in their own strengths and more motivated.
New learning opportunities
An affordable 3D printer offers unlimited learning opportunities for students to experiment with ideas, to expand and develop their creativity. Without visualization and touch, it is difficult to understand certain concepts. A visual learning environment improves understanding of the world, and 3D printing gives birth to new opportunities to present information to young students in an effective way.
3D printing helps solve problems
It offers students a variety of learning experiences, helps them to persevere and overcome difficulties. Eventually, they will be able to solve their own life problems. Nurturing the creative skills of young people in education can help develop original thinking.
As young people develop their thinking and imagination, they become more and more innovative and can create their own unique 3D models that can help train others and solve new and new problems.
Therefore, 3D printing brings a lot of important benefits in education.