In a world where 1-year-olds are becoming proficient at iPhones and toddlers know how to queue up Netflix, could kids and 3D printing go hand in hand?
In short, yes, and its applications for kids are endless. From creating their own Lego pieces to designing parts for competition robots and making prosthetic hands, 3D printing isn’t just for big corporations and tech geeks anymore.
Turning Ideas Into Reality
Kids are naturally creative. But when their creativity is restrained by their own limited artistic skills, it can lead to the abandonment of creative pursuits. With 3D printing, however, if a child can dream it up, chances are pretty good that they can see it become reality, encouraging them to do bigger, better things and leading them to successful careers in design and engineering.
3D printing isn’t as simple as a click-and-print. It requires attention to detail and thinking ahead. Can an object be printed in one piece or does it require more than one job? Will it need to have additional structure added to it for support? How might you be able to make interlocking pieces? As kids’ designs get more complicated, they’re constantly learning these basic functions of engineering and problem solving without even realizing they’re learning. They’re gaining an invaluable understanding of the design process through hands-on experience.
Design Principles and Software
A great way to get kids started with design software is free, simple, easy-to-use, online computer-aided design programs like Tinkercad. Tinkercad starts users off with the ability to manipulate basic shapes to achieve simple designs (think square + triangle = house) and allows them to translate those designs into 3D printed objects. As a result, kids become more adept at the program, and they can create more complex and intricate designs. This gives them the ability to learn by doing.
With the ability for others to share their own 3D designs, kids can dream even bigger. As they study the creations of others they can use those ideas as jumping-off points for their own work. They can share their own creations with the world which gives them the motivation to complete projects and feel accomplishment.
Today’s kids spend so much of their lives staring at screens. By putting kids and 3D printing together, kids can pull their ideas off the screen and into their hands. Visit Me3D to find out more about how you can empower the kids in your life with a 3D printer.